Continued from page 2

“But there will be no doubt that [a withdrawal is] going to happen” in July 2011, he said.

Mr. Emanuel said the deadline has created a “sense of urgency” for U.S.-led forces and Afghan authorities to push toward greater stability in the country.

He added that the administration’s “surge” of 30,000 troops to Afghanistan this year - a deployment that is about two-thirds completed, according to Gen. Petraeus - has done much to improve security in the country.

“This is creating a window of opportunity for Afghanistan,” Mr. Emanuel said. “We are now at that point in Afghanistan that, for the first time in nine years, they are actually meeting their police-recruitment requirements, as well as their army-recruitment requirements.”

Mr. Emanuel also said the war in Afghanistan has lead to the elimination of about half of al Qaeda’s forces in the country in the past 18 months.

“We’re taking the pressure to al Qaeda; we’re taking the pressure to Afghanistan,” he said.