This was in response to Raddatz’s question on why not leave Afghanistan now. Biden’s response: (emphasis mine)
BIDEN: Martha, let’s keep our eye on the ball. The reason — I’ve been in and out of Afghanistan and Iraq 20 times. I’ve been up in the Konar (ph) Valley. I’ve been throughout that whole country, mostly in a helicopter, and sometimes in a vehicle.
The fact is, we went there for one reason: to get those people who killed Americans, Al Qaida. We’ve decimated Al Qaida central. We have eliminated Osama bin Laden. That was our purpose.
And, in fact, in the meantime, what we said we would do, we would help train the Afghan military. It’s their responsibility to take over their own security. That’s why with 49 of our allies in Afghanistan, we’ve agreed on a gradual drawdown so we’re out of there by the year 20 — in the year 2014.
My friend and the governor say it’s based on conditions, which means it depends. It does not depend for us. It is the responsibility of the Afghans to take care of their own security. We have trained over 315,000, mostly without incident. There have been more than two dozen cases of green-on-blue where Americans have been killed. If we do not — if the measures the military has taken do not take hold, we will not go on joint patrols. We will not train in the field. We’ll only train in the — in the Army bases that exist there.
But we are leaving. We are leaving in 2014. Period. And in the process, we’re going to be saving over the next 10 years another $800 billion. We’ve been in this war for over a decade. The primary objective is almost completed. Now, all we’re doing is putting the Kabul government in a position to be able to maintain their own security.
It’s their responsibility, not America’s.
First of all, I don’t even know what the paragraph in bold above means. How can Biden say training is going so well when we just had to end all joint patrols because of the green-on-blue attacks? And the whole point is to train the Afghans on joint patrols. If we can’t do that, there is no training program.
And Biden’s figure on the number of attacks is wrong. “More than two dozen” hides the real number: 114 since 2007, 51 this year through September. 51 is more than four dozen, and we still have three months to go this year.
And later there was this exchange on the Afghan troops who are replacing U.S. troops:
BIDEN: That’s right, because that’s the Afghan responsibility. We’ve trained them.
RYAN: Not in the east.
RADDATZ: Let’s move — let’s move to another war.
BIDEN: Not in the east?
RYAN: R.C. East — R.C. East…
BIDEN: R.C. East is the most dangerous place in the world.
RYAN: That’s right. That’s why we don’t want to send fewer people to the…
BIDEN: That’s — that’s why we should send Americans in to do the job, instead of the — you’d rather Americans be going in doing the job instead of the trainees?
RYAN: No. We are already sending Americans to do the job, but fewer of them. That’s the whole problem.
BIDEN: That’s right. We’re sending in more Afghans to do the job, Afghans to do the job.
Biden’s argument is we send the Afghans in to the most dangerous area. Well, how’s that working out? I’m surprised Ryan didn’t bring up the recent attack on Camp Bastion — in the region talked about above. If the Obama-Biden plan is working, how did we suffer this devastating attack?
Here’s more on our allies, via the BBC:
Nato forces in Afghanistan have been exposed to greater risk of Taliban attacks because of fraud, a US government agency has alleged.
A report said Afghan contractors paid to seal drainage channels – often used to hide explosives under roads – had failed to do so in more than 100 cases.
A criminal investigation is under way, senior generals have been told.
The BBC’s Andrew North in Kabul says if proven, the case is likely to deepen mistrust between Nato and Afghans.
You’d think Biden’s highly trained Afghan army would’ve been able to detect such obvious shortcomings, but it looks like they missed it. Is anyone shocked?
Here’s the problem as I see it. We’re drawing out U.S. troops and replacing them with Afghan troops, leaving the U.S. troops still in-country woefully under-defended.
This is an issue for both Obama and Romney: Either give those soldiers the support they need or get them home not by 2014, but starting today.
The Afghan forces aren’t cutting it and until someone can prove to me differently, I don’t think they ever will and we’re just wasting American lives until this arbitrary 2014 deadline.