General not confident of 2014 pullout from Afghanistan

Gen. David Petraeus couldn't say he was confident that the U.S. can pull out of Afghanistan in 2014.

"I don't think there are any sure things in this kind of endeavor," he said in an exclusive interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC's Good Morning America.

Winning in Afghanistan, Petraeus said, is "a bit different than, say, winning World War II or some conventional fight. This is not a case where you see the hill that you have to take, you take it -- you plant the flag and you go home to a victory parade. This is a much more complex endeavor than that, and it requires a very comprehensive approach."

Afghans are losing confidence in the U.S. and NATO presence in their country, according to a new poll conducted by The Washington Post, ABC News, the British Broadcasting Corp., and ARD television of Germany.

The poll, based on face-to-face interviews with a random sample of nearly 1,700 Afghan adults in all 34 of the country's provinces, shows a downturn from last year's results, despite the troop surge.

Only 36 percent of Afghans now express confidence in U.S. and NATO forces to provide security and stability in their area, down 12 points from last year and 31 points since 2006. In addition, more Afghans now say that the United States is playing a negative rather than a positive role in Afghanistan, 43 percent to 36 percent, a reversal from last year's figures.

Nevertheless, Petraeus said that military efforts in Afghanistan in the past several months have picked up, despite the Pentagon's latest six-month progress report on security and stability in Afghanistan, which says that the Taliban's reach is expanding.

"The data cutoff was in September," Petraeus said. "Some of our most important operations have really shown their achievement literally in the recent months."

When asked about a recent letter in which the Taliban claims to control more than 50 percent of Afghanistan, Petraeus's response was: "If you control so much of Afghanistan, why are all your senior leaders outside the country and never set foot inside the country?"

He argued that troops have "arrested the momentum that the Taliban have achieved in recent years, in many areas of the country, not all, but we have reversed it in some important areas, including right here in Kabul."

Petraeus conceded that "the Taliban is resilient," but said that a sustained commitment ensures that coalition troops are more skilled and experienced in the face of that resilience.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.