Clinton focuses on al-Qaeda as frustration on Afghanistan grows

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton expressed frustration with the Afghan government Sunday and said that the U.S. goal in the country is to destroy al-Qaeda and not to prop up a corrupt government.

Clinton, who is traveling in Asia with President Barack Obama, said on two Sunday news shows that "these are not prior days" when the U.S. was talking about helping the Afghan government.

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"That could happen, but our primary focus is on the security of the United States of America," Clinton said on ABC's "This Week."

Clinton said repeatedly that "our goal here is to defeat al-Qaeda," and she repeated the president's dissatisfaction with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the corrupt Afghan government.

"We believe that President Karzai and his government can do better," Clinton said. "We've delivered that message."

Clinton's comments come as Obama is still considering a strategy for a way forward in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and she made clear that Obama is focusing on targeting al-Qaeda.

The secretary of state said that "we want to get the people who attacked us," hinting that the focus of the new Afghan mission will focus on counter-terrorism.

"That is what is driving the president to make the best decision he can make," Clinton said.

After a meeting with his war council last week, Obama appeared to be frustrated with the options presented to him, unhappy with how to get to the point that hands responsibility for Afghan security over to that country's government.

Clinton said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that Karzai "has his strengths and he has his weaknesses," and "we've got some very specific asks we will be making."

The former senator and 2008 presidential candidate also told "This Week" that she will not run for governor of New York, saying "that rumor is dead."

"That's another one of those stories that never will die, and I hope maybe we can put it to rest today," Clinton said.