Biden: ‘Too early’ to tell if we are winning in Afghanistan

Holly Bailey
The Upshot

Asked if we are losing the war in Afghanistan, Vice President Joe Biden told ABC News’s This Week that “it’s still too early to make a judgment” but insisted the U.S. policy in the region will ultimately work.

Biden’s comments coincide with visits to the region by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Obama national security adviser Jim Jones. They are there, in part, to determine if the White House’s current strategy in Afghanistan needs to be tweaked.

“We still believe that the policy that the military signed onto, put together initially, signed onto, is, in fact, going to work,” Biden told ABC. “We are making considerable progress against al Qaeda, which is our primary target. We are taking out significant numbers of the leadership in al Qaeda.  And we are, in the process, which is painfully slow and difficult, of training up Afghani forces in order to put them in a position they can deal with their own insurgents.”

Biden warned, though, that there is a "tough slog" still to come.

"I think it's much too premature to make a judgment [of how the U.S. is faring] until the military said we should look at it, which is in December," he said.

As for the planned July 2011 drawdown of troops in the region, Biden backed down from a comment he gave Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter, in which he predicted “a whole lot of people moving out.” On Sunday, he told ABC that number “could be as few as a couple thousand troops” or it could be more, calling it only “the beginning of a transition.”

"There will be a transition," he insisted.