Afghan president questions US timeline for leaving

KABUL, Afghanistan  — President Hamid Karzai on Thursday criticized the US plan to begin withdrawing troops starting next July and said the war on terror cannot succeed as long as the Taliban and their allies maintain sanctuaries in Pakistan.
Karzai's statements were made during a meeting with visiting US congressmen and come at a time when the Obama administration is ratcheting up pressure on the Afghan leader to do more to stamp out corruption. The Afghan government maintains that the US should be doing more on other fronts, including pressuring Pakistan to shut down the insurgent sanctuaries.
Karzai also said President Barack Obama's announcement that he would begin withdrawing US forces from Afghanistan in July 2011 has given "the enemy a morale boost" because they believe they can simply hold out until the Americans leave.