Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Advisor to President Carter: “If you are asking me, my response is we ought to stick to our schedule. That schedule is reasonable; it’s well calculated, and it would convey panic if we were now to accelerate that dramatically.
David Ignatius, Washington Post columnist: “The schedule for withdrawal is something that’s been worked out with the most important allies of the United States…It’s a phased withdrawal. Two years from now U.S. and other NATO combat troops will essentially be out of Afghanistan, and the middle of next year, in theory, we will shift the lead responsibility in security to the Afghan forces. I think if that timetable were radically changed the effects in Afghanistan would be to add to this growing uncertainty and would encourage different groups to try to grab pieces of the country for themselves. You’d have a real risk of a civil war and partition. That may happen anyway after 2014, but the least the U.S. can do with its allies is try to stabilize the situation and give the Afghans the best chance they can have.
Richard Haass, Council on Foreign Relations: I would actually accelerate it. Not because of the incidents of the last few days, but I would’ve favored a faster program to begin with. I simply don’t think…that at the end of the day we are going to have the results that will justify this human and economic investment.”