Obama says Afghanistan not US 'protectorate'

AP News
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Posted: Dec 11, 2009 2:33 PM

President Barack Obama says he needed to set a deadline to start withdrawing U.S. forces so the Afghans wouldn't assume their country would be "a permanent protectorate" of the United States.

Obama told CBS's "60 Minutes" that his decision to start bringing forces home by July 2011 was a signal the United States would not protect the country forever. Obama has said the U.S. commitment to Afghanistan is not open-ended.

Obama said in the interview, which airs Sunday evening, that some people in Afghanistan would be fine with the United States paying for Afghan security and operations. But Obama says that's not what Americans agreed to when the United States toppled the Afghan government to go after al-Qaida.