Clinton: Report Part of Broader Assessment

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on "Face the Nation," Sept. 27, 2009.
General Stanley McCrystal's report to the president, which recommended that additional U.S. troops were needed for a successful counterinsurgency fight in Afghanistan, is only part of a broader assessment of America's role in that country, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on "Face the Nation" Sunday, arguing that the issues of Afghanistan and Pakistan go hand-in-hand.

"We are only now reaching the end of the deployment cycle," she said of President Obama's increase of U.S. forces there after taking office. "We also know that going hand-in-hand with our military strategy was our civilian strategy, a much more focused effort, a much more accountable one, dealing with the government of Afghanistan, so we not only saw the change of commanders in the military, we saw a change in our Ambassador and a beefing up of our Embassy in Kabul."

Read Gen. McChrystal's report

She also said that because of the complexities of the recent Afghan presidential election (in which the incumbent Karzai government has been accused of vote fraud), no new commitment from the United States can be announced.

Guest moderator Harry Smith asked Clinton during Friday's pre-taped interview whether it is "worth American blood and treasure" to support the Karzai regime which has been accused of corruption and even stealing the election.

"Well, with all respect, we're doing this for the United States," Clinton explained."We're doing this because we think that a return to a safe haven in Afghanistan with al Qaeda, with Taliban elements associated with al Qaeda with the same purpose to basically run a syndicate of terror out of either Afghanistan or the border region, is something we cannot tolerate.

She said once election results are established, American diplomats will start to work to express what is expected of the Afghan leaders.

Smith cited the training that suspected terrorist Najibullag Zazi allegedly received in Pakistan and asked Clinton if Pakistan were "doing enough to clean up its own house?"

Clinton argued that Pakistan has "absolutely" taken measures to weed out terrorist sects, before admitting that "we are always working for more."

"This is not, you know, a checkbox kind of experience where, 'Oh, we're done with that, we're done with that . . . ' … It is important for Americans to understand that focusing on al Qaeda and the Taliban, who are largely but not exclusively now in Pakistan, cannot be done if we allow them to return to a safe haven in Afghanistan," she concluded.