Petraeus says withdrawal from Afghanistan depends on situation on ground

10:35, August 14, 2010      

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The timetable of U.S. troops' withdrawal from Afghanistan will be driven by situation on the ground, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan said in an interview to be aired over the weekend.

David Petraeus, the four-star general recently installed to take over the Afghanistan war, told NBC's David Gregory that President Barack Obama has made clear he wants the best military advice possible concerning the drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

"Certainly, I am aware of the context within which I offer that advice," Petraeus said. "But that just informs the advice; it doesn't drive it. The situation on the ground drives it."

Obama has set July 2011 as a deadline to begin withdrawing troops. Petraeus said the challenge now is to demonstrate signs of progress, according to excerpts of the interview released by NBC on Friday. The interview will be broadcast on Sunday on "Meet the Press."

"I think our job is again to show those in Washington that there is progress being made," Petraeus said. "To do that, we've got to build on the progress that has been established so far, because there is certainly nothing like irreversible momentum."

Petraeus, who previously served as head of the U.S. Central Command, assumed command of U.S. Forces Afghanistan and the NATO- led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan last month.

Source: Xinhua

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