Joe Biden: U.S. Will Be Out Of Afghanistan By 2014

Vice-President Biden made a bold promise on Meet The Press this morning:

Despite uneven progress in Afghanistan, Vice President Joe Biden said next summer’s planned withdrawal would be more than a token reduction and that the U.S. would be out of the country by 2014 “come hell or high water.”

Biden’s prediction appeared to go further than statements by his boss, President Barack Obama, who just last month said there would be a reduced U.S. footprint in Afghanistan by 2014 but that the number of troops that would remain was still in question.

Obama has discussed maintaining a counterterrorism capability in Afghanistan after 2014. As recently as Dec. 16, he said the U.S. and its NATO allies would have an enduring presence there after 2014, although the details of that were unclear.

The Obama administration has said repeatedly that July would mark the beginning of the troop withdrawals and that their size would depend on military conditions.

“We’re starting it in July of 2011, and we’re going to be totally out of there, come hell or high water, by 2014,” Biden told NBC’s “Meet the Press” in an interview broadcast Sunday.

Of course, the Presidential election that will take place between now and then will have something to say about that. However, assuming Biden’s promise holds, it seems apparent that the U.S. will be in the middle of withdrawal by the time of the next Presidential Inauguration in January 2013.

FILED UNDER: Joe Biden, Military Affairs, Politicians, Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Dave Schuler says:

    My reaction to this is that either he’s lying, mistaken, exaggerating, or cynical about American interests. It’s not the “out of the country” part that concerns me; it’s the “hell or high water” part.

  2. Jim King says:

    I think that Obama and Biden will also be out of the White House around Jan. of 2013 if I am not mistaken… One and done is my motto.
    Jim

  3. James Joyner says:

    We’re just a few weeks away from the Lisbon Summit, in which NATO declared that it would start transitioning provinces to Afghan control in 2011 and have completely transitioned by the end of 2014. BUT there’s a rather strong caveat and a weaker one. First, while “combat operations” will conclude by the end of 2014, we’ll remain in a support and advisory role indefinitely. Second, the withdrawal is “conditions based.” The 2014 deadline is one that Hamid Karzai pushed for but there’s a tacit agreement that, if there’s a Taliban or al Qaeda resurgence, we’ll remain in a combat role until no longer needed.

  4. Dave Schuler says:

    The 2014 deadline is one that Hamid Karzai pushed for but there’s a tacit agreement that, if there’s a Taliban or al Qaeda resurgence, we’ll remain in a combat role until no longer needed.

    How does that reconcile with “hell or high water”? Do you envision defining “out” as “redefining combat units as support units”?

  5. Do you envision defining “out” as “redefining combat units as support units”?

    Dave the next thing you’re going to tell me is that we’re not really “out of Iraq.”

    Oh, wait.