British Defense Secretary Rejects Obama Pullout Pledge

Likely Incoming British Leader Also Rejects 'Artificial Timetable'

Ever since President Obama announced his July 2011 deadline for starting the pullout from Afghanistan, administration officials have been rejecting it as just an estimate and not written in stone. But if US officials don’t like it, British officials really don’t like it.

Afghan War enthusiast David Cameron

Defense Secretary Bob Ainsworth is making no bones about rejecting the timeline, saying that “nobody is talking about a drawdown, we are talking about bringing more in there.”

President Obama’s announcement was likely an effort to stave off criticism of the endless war in the US. But as NATO allies try to sell escalations to their own publics most seem like they’d prefer to wait out a 2011 deadline.

David Cameron, the opposition leader and presumptive next prime minister, also mocked the “artificial timetable” and vowed to remain in Afghan as long as need be. Though no one seriously thinks NATO will remain in Afghanistan if the US leaves, the comments suggest that Cameron doesn’t put much stock into the notion that the US will actually leave Afghansitan any time soon.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of