CBS’ Lara Logan talked with Barack Obama during his recent visit to Afghanistan. Obama commented on the benefits to declaring a timetable for troop withdrawals from Iraq.
LOGAN: You do have a situation seven years on into this war where Osama bin Laden and all his lieutenants and all the leaders of the Taliban, they’re still there. They’re inside Pakistan.
OBAMA: It’s a huge problem. First of all, if we hadn’t taken our eye off the ball we might have caught them before they went into Pakistan and were able to reconstitute themselves. We made a strategic error. It’s one we’re going to pay for and unfortunately the people of Afghanistan have paid for it as well. But we now have an opportunity to correct that problem. One of the… if you look at what’s happening right now, in Iraq, Prime Minister Al Maliki has indicated he wants a timetable for withdrawal. That is the view of the vast majority of Iraqis as well. We’ve seen a quelling of the violence. We haven’t seen as much political progress as needs to be made but we’re starting to see some efforts the part of various factions to deal with some of the issues that are out there.
LOGAN: Token efforts at best?
OBAMA: They are token efforts at best but if we have a timetable and they suddenly see an urgency behind the fact that the American troops are going to be leaving and that they need to get their act together, then this is the perfect moment for us to say we are going to shift our resources, we’re going to get a couple of more brigades here into Afghanistan. We’re going to… and it’s not just brigades. We’re also going to be upping our financial aid to Afghanistan. We’re going to be willing to increase our foreign aid to Pakistan. In exchange, we’re going to expect that Pakistan takes much more seriously going after al Qaeda and Taliban-based camps on their side of the borders.
This video is from CBS’s Face the Nation, broadcast July 20, 2008.