President Obama vowed to "finish the job" in Afghanistan today, less than 24 hours after his final meeting to determine a new strategy going forward in the war.
At a brief press conference following a meeting with India's Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, at the White House, Mr. Obama said that "after eight years, some of those years in which we did not have, I think, either the resources or the strategy to get the job done, it is my intention to finish the job."
"And I feel very confident that when the American people hear a clear rationale for what we're doing there, and how we intend to achieve our goals, that they will be supportive," he continued.
The president was responding to a question from CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller, one of only two questions he took at the appearance.
"I will be making an announcement to the American people about how we intend to move forward, I will be doing so shortly," the president said. "I think that the review that we've gone through has been comprehensive and extremely useful, and has brought together my key military advisers, but also civilian advisers."
"It is in our strategic interest, in our national security interest, to make sure that Al-Qaeda and its extremist allies cannot operate effectively in those areas," he continued. "We are going to dismantle and degrade their capabilities and ultimately disable and destroy their networks. And Afghanistan's stability is important to that process."
The president did not specify when he would announce his decision on Afghanistan beyond saying it will come after Thanksgiving, although CBS News has confirmed that he is planning a prime-time address Dec. 1. He is expected to send between 32,000 to 35,000 additional U.S. forces to the region, slightly less than the number requested by the top commander there, Gen. Stanley McChrystal.
Mr. Obama went on to say that the situation in Afghanistan is not just important to the United States.
"The whole world I think has a core security interest in making sure that the kind of extremism and violence that you've seen emanating from this region is tackled, confronted in a serious way," he said.
Because "we have to do it as part of a broader international community," the president continued, "one of the things I'm going to be discussing [in announcing the new strategy] is the obligations of our international partners in this process."
"And it's going to be important to recognize that in order for us to succeed there it's going to be important to have a comprehensive strategy that includes civilian and diplomatic efforts," he concluded.
He went on to say that when he announces the strategy he expects that further questions will be answered to the satisfaction of the American people.
The president reportedly plans to meet with Capitol Hill lawmakers following his announcement next week to shore up support for his new strategy amid concerns – particularly among members of his own party – that he is further involving the country in a costly and ill-defined mission.
Following the announcement, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham and McChrystal are expected to testify before Congress.