On CNN's "Amanpour" Sunday, Karzai said that the date Mr. Obama gave was not "an exit announcement," but instead a goal, by which time Afghan security forces would be expected to begin taking over control of security from U.S. and international forces.
"We will try our best as the Afghan people to do it the soonest possible," Karzai said. "But the international community must have also the patience with us and the realization of the realities in Afghanistan.
"If it takes longer, then they must be with us," he said.
Recently inaugurated to a second five-year term as president, Karzai said he wants Afghanis to be able to assume control of security in at least parts of the country in two years, and throughout Afghanistan by the end of his term.
"We as Afghans will try our very best to reach that goal, and we hope our allies will back us to reach that goal," Karzai told Christiane Amanpour.
On CBS' "Face the Nation" Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said July 2011 did not represent a deadline per se, but rather the date by which U.S. forces will begin a withdrawal, contingent upon the recommendation of military commanders given the situation at that time.
Gates told host Bob Schieffer. He also promised, "We are not going to abandon Afghanistan like we did in 1989."