(AFP) – Oct 30, 2009
WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama will lay out broad strategic guidelines for Afghanistan after November 7 runoff elections there but will not "micromanage" the generals fighting the war, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Friday.
Clinton made the remarks when asked whether forces would be pulled back from the Pakistan-Afghanistan border under a new strategy that reportedly will refocus the US-led military effort on protecting Afghan population centers.
"The president is not going to micromanage what our generals do," she said in an interview with PBS television.
"The president is going to say, 'Here's our strategic objectives, here's what is needed for us to meet the mission we have, here are the troops that you're going to be given, here are the civilians and the political strategy that we are integrating.'"
"But he's not going to be looking at a map and saying, 'Do you have two people there and four people there?' That's not the way it's done," she said.
Clinton said she had discussed Afghanistan with Pakistani military and intelligence leaders during a visit this week to Pakistan, and mentioned a story circulating that the United States and its allies had removed a lot of troops from the border.
"But that's not the case, and they know that; that we have actually beefed up our border, but we're changing the way that we are taking on the border responsibilities," she said.
"These small isolated outposts that have been tried are not the best way, so there's going to be some consolidation, some more patrolling, but there are actually more troops, not fewer," she added.
Clinton also clarified a comment she made earlier that Obama would announce his decision on Afghan strategy, including his commander's request for more troops, after Afghanistan's presidential elections were "finally resolved."
She said she did not mean that he would wait until all election challenges were settled.
"So there'll be the run-off on November 7, and hopefully, the results will be in sooner than they were from the first round," she said.
"But since our strategy really does take into account what the Afghans themselves are willing to do -- not just in Kabul, but certainly Kabul is a big piece of this, and the president, his cabinet, however that turns out, governors, district leaders, all kinds of responsible parties -- we want to make sure that they know what we're expecting of them.
"And it's been a little difficult to present that until we know exactly how this is turning out,' she said.
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