CBS News chief foreign correspondent Lara Logan provided a dose of reality on “Face the Nation” Sunday.
For 2010’s year-in-review show, host Bob Schieffer assembled a round table of correspondents, a CBS News tradition. Schieffer spoke to Logan about President Obama’s number one foreign policy concern. “Do you see a major drawdown of troops come summer or will it be a gradual drawdown?” he asked.
“It will be a gradual drawdown if any at all. It’d probably be more symbolic and political than anything else,” Logan said. “General David Petraeus … he is hamstrung by the fact that there’s a complete political break down in Afghanistan – within the Afghan government and also between the U.S. embassy and the Afghan government.
“There’s very little diplomacy that is going on there. That is the number one problem in Afghanistan now. It’s not military, it’s political,” she added.
Later in the show, Logan pointed out that Pakistan will be the number one foreign policy problem for the Obama administration next year.
“Somehow the United States has allowed Pakistan to dictate the terms of what’s going on over there. They denied they have the Taliban in their country. Now they say, ‘If you want to negotiate with the Taliban, you’ve got to go through us.’ Pakistan wants to control what happens in Afghanistan, and U.S. foreign policy there seems to be dictated by a somewhat irrational fear of Pakistan’s break-up. This is a tiny country, that because it has Osama bin Laden and nuclear weapons, is able to occupy a place of equality on the world stage with the U.S. and other superpowers…”
Schieffer then asked the question we’ve all been asking for at least nine years: Where is Osama bin Laden? Logan answered:
“We’ve known for years that he’s inside Pakistan, and if Pakistan’s leaders would deal with that, then maybe the Osama bin Laden story would finally come to an end. There are a number of al-Qaeda leaders and Taliban leaders in Pakistan, and the real question to the government of Pakistan is: ‘Why aren’t you delivering these guys?’ Do you know, recently I learned that not only does the U.S. know where these people are inside Pakistan — there are whole neighborhoods of Taliban in the Pakistani city of Quetta, for example — but we have information right down to their phone numbers. So the Afghans have this information, the U.S. has it and the Pakistanis have it. But no one is acting on it. Which really begs the question, because the big fear for the administration is, what happens if there’s another 9/11 or worse that originates in Pakistan? Somehow the intelligence agencies are clinging to this idea that the Pakistanis will get that information and they’ll be able to warn us. It’s not going to happen. I mean, it’s a pipe dream. You have to deal with the reality, which is that the vast majority of terrorist leaders that threaten the United States today are located inside Pakistan, and the U.S. is failing to deal with that.”
UPDATE: U.N. Maps Rate Afghanistan Less Secure
U.S. Can’t Account for Billions Spent in Afghanistan (Tens of billions, actually)
Related One Utah post:
President Obama: ‘We Are On Track’ in Afghanistan