RICHARD A. OPPEL Jr. and ELISABETH BUMILLER
The New York Times
December 8, 2009
[efoods]KABUL, Afghanistan — President Hamid Karzai said Tuesday that Afghanistan would not be able to pay for its own security until at least 2024, underscoring his government’s long-term financial dependence on the United States and NATO even as President Obama has pledged to begin withdrawing American troops in 2011.
Mr. Karzai spoke at a news conference here with the American secretary of defense, Robert M. Gates, who did not put a timetable on the American and allied financial commitment but acknowledged that there was a “realism on our part that it will be some time before Afghanistan is able to sustain its security forces entirely on its own.”
The news conference came just hours after as many as a dozen people were killed during an American raid in Laghman Province, Afghan officials said, prompting hundreds of villagers to march in protest.