(Washington Times) – President Obama last month vowed that Afghanistan never again will be a breeding ground for terrorist attacks on the U.S., but the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Sunday seemed to distance himself from that statement.
Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” Gen. Martin Dempsey would not agree with Mr. Obama’s declaration.
“You’d have to ask the president how he could say that,” Gen. Dempsey said when asked how the president could be sure Afghanistan won’t again become a safe haven for terrorist groups such as al Qaeda.
The president made the remarks during a Christmas Day address to troops stationed in Hawaii.
“Because of the extraordinary service of the men and women in the armed forces, Afghanistan has a chance to rebuild its own country. We are safer. It’s not going to be a source of terrorist attacks again,” Mr. Obama said.
Gen. Dempsey made clear he believes the new government in Afghanistan will be a cooperative partner with the U.S. He also said he believes Afghan security forces recently have shown encouraging signs they’re willing to defend their country.
But he stopped short of endorsing the blanket vow made by Mr. Obama.
“I personally think there will be pockets inside of Afghanistan that change hands from time to time because that’s the history of the country,” he said. “But I think that we’re in a very good place in Afghanistan in terms of giving them a chance to do exactly what the president said. But we’re going to have to keep an eye on it.”