Said Jawad, Afghanistan's Ambassador to the U.S., has publicly come out against the July 2011 timeline to begin withdrawing forces from the war-torn country. Jawad's arguments against the timeline -- it sends all of the wrong messages to the Afghan people, the Taliban, and regional actors -- is not new. But as the Wall Street Journal notes in its report on Jawad's statement, it is the first time a senior Afghan official has weighed in against the withdrawal timeline:
Speaking Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Amb. Said Jawad said that the declared deadline sent the wrong message to the Taliban and the U.S. should instead commit publicly that it will remain in Afghanistan “to finish the job.”
“If you overemphasize a deadline that is not realistic, you are making the enemy a lot more bold,” Jawad said. “You are prolonging the war.”
Jawad’s comments are the first by a senior Afghan official to publicly question Obama’s decision to mark a firm date for withdrawals...
Jawad appeared to agree with Republican critics, saying it has raised questions about whether the U.S. is fully committed to winning the war. “If that’s not the feeling, we lose the support of the Afghan people and also make the neighboring countries who have an interest a lot more bolder to interfere in Afghanistan,” he said.
It will be interesting to see if President Obama will explicitly back down from his commitment to keeping the timeline. Obama, in what ABC News described as a part of a "show of frustration about when he will end the unpopular war in Afghanistan," appeared to start backtracking on the timeline. But he still hasn't officially retreated from the position, despite what appears to be some pushback from General David Petraeus. ABC notes that Obama's real policy "falls somewhere in the middle, thereby pleasing few." Perhaps except the Taliban, and Pakistan, whose hand is strengthened by a weak neighbor.