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Biden promises 2014 Afghanistan withdrawal ‘come hell or high water’

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Biden compares Assange to a ‘high-tech terrorist’

Vice President Joe Biden pledged Sunday that all US troops would be out of Afghanistan by 2014, “come hell or high water.”

NBC’s David Gregory asked Biden if the US would only begin withdrawing a token amount of troops next summer as part of President Barack Obama’s promise that 2011 would be a year of transition.

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“It will not be a token amount,” the vice president said, comparing it to the scheduled withdrawal from Iraq.

“That’s exactly what we did at the recent Lisbon conference, NATO conference where we said we’re starting this process like we did in Iraq. We’re starting it in July 2011 and we’ll be totally out of there, come hell or high water, by 2014,” he said.

“After ten years, Mr. Vice President, can you even say straight whether we’re winning or losing?” asked Gregory.

“We are making progress. Are we making sufficient progress fast enough? The answer remains to be seen,” Biden replied. “We are honest with the American people. We’re making progress on all fronts, more in some areas than in others.”

An assessment of the war released by the White House last week said that progress was “fragile and reversible.”

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Biden compares Assange to a ‘high-tech terrorist’

Gregory also asked the vice president if the US government would do something to stop secrets website WikiLeaks and their founder Julian Assange from releasing more documents.

“We’re looking at that right now,” Biden replied. “I’m not going to comment on that process.”

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If Julian Assange conspired to steal secret US documents then he should be considered a criminal, Biden noted.

“I would argue it’s closer to being a high-tech terrorist than the Pentagon Papers. This guy has done things that have damaged and put in jeopardy the lives and occupations of people in other parts of the world. He has made it more difficult for us to conduct our business with our allies and our friends,” he added.

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This video is from NBC’s Meet the Press, broadcast Dec. 19, 2010.

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