Biden: Afghan government needs to 'step up'

Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday claimed the purpose of the U.S.'s new strategy in Afghanistan is to encourage the Afghan government to do more to thwart radical groups.

Biden, in an interview with CBS' "The Early Show," said that the strategy is also partly intended to make the war more palatable to the American public.

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"To be completely blunt with you, it probably makes it more palatable but that's not the purpose," Biden said Wednesday morning. "The purpose is to make it clear to [President Hamid] Karzai and his government, that up until now has been unwilling to step up to the ball, 'fellas, you've got to step up to the ball.'" 

On Tuesaday night, President Barack Obama announced in a speech at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point that he plans to send 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan to assist in fighting the Taliban and al Qaeda. Obama said that all units would begin drawing down in July 2011, just over 18 months from now.

Obama has also requested that European allies send additional forces to supplement the new U.S. units.

Biden -- a former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee -- expressed confidence that Allied forces would be able to tamp down militants and bring stability to the region before the withdrawal date.

The president's decision to set a timelime of withdrawal, however, was criticized by many Republican lawmakers after the speech Tuesday. Most Republicans say a deadline would allow Taliban and al Qaeda fighters to wait out the United States' departure from the region to begin a larger offensive.

Biden appeared on all three major network morning programs Wednesday morning.


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