The United States cannot wait for problems surrounding the legitimacy of the Afghan government to be resolved before making a decision on troops, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said.
Gates, speaking to reporters on board a plane traveling to Tokyo, described the situation in Afghanistan as an evolutionary process that would not improve dramatically overnight, regardless of what course is taken following the country’s flawed August election.
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“I see this as a process, not something that’s going to happen all of the sudden,” Gates said.
“I believe that (U.S. President Barack Obama) will have to make his decisions in the context of that evolutionary process.”
On Sunday White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had said Obama’s Afghanistan strategy and pending decision on additional U.S. troops depend on whether the Kabul government is effective.
The overriding question is not, “how many troops you send, but do you have a credible Afghan partner,” Emanuel said, adding it was important the election outcome be seen as legitimate and credible.