President Barack Obama speaks at the start of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) meeting on Afghanistan at the NATO Summit in Chicago, Monday, May 21, 2012. From left are, British Prime Minister David Cameron, left, and Gen. John R. Allen, Commander of the International Security Assistance Force. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Updated: May 21, 2012 5:24PM
President Barack Obama says there will never be an “optimal point” at which the United States’ work in Afghanistan will be finished. But he says the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan is sound as it withdraws troops from the country.
Obama said Monday at the end of a two-day NATO Summit that he “can’t afford a whitewash” and not receive the best information from military advisers on Afghanistan.
He says the Taliban is a formidable enemy and the gains made by U.S. forces are “still fragile.”
Obama says Afghanistan is on track to put the country’s security under the lead of Afghan forces in 2013, having the U.S.-led NATO troops play a support role a year ahead of the planned withdrawal of all NATO forces in 2014.