Clinton Insists US Doesn’t Have Long-Term Designs on Afghanistan

US May Pull Civilian Aid Even as War Escalates

Though the war in Afghanistan is entering its ninth year with no serious consideration of American forces ever actually leaving, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton insists the US has no long-term designs on the nation.

We’re not interested in staying in Afghanistan; we’re not interested in any long-term presence there,” Clinton insisted on an interview today. She didn’t indicate what “long term” means in this context.

Clinton also demanded that Afghan President Hamid Karzai “do better” in his efforts to stabilize the nation, saying that the US might yank all civilian aid from the nation if the Afghan government doesn’t become more accountable.

She insists that the US has no illusions that Afghanistan will ever become a “modern democracy” and says that the war is continuing only to “get al-Qaeda.” Though Clinton did not mention this fact, only two months ago Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top commander in Afghanistan, said there was no indication that al-Qaeda has any significant presence in the nation.

At the same time, Gen. McChrystal has been pressing for a massive escalation of the war effort, and while the announcement of President Obama’s decision has been delayed for several months in the face of the conflict’s rising unpopularity he is widely expected to commit at least 30,000 additional US troops to the war.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.