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Tim Pawlenty: WikiLeaks should not change Afghanistan plans

Minnesota governor and potential Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty called for 'strategic patience' in the Afghanistan war effort at a Monitor breakfast for reporters Monday.

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty (R) spoke to reporters at a Monitor Breakfast Monday. He called for patience on a pull-out date for US forces from Afghanistan.

Michael Bonfigli/Special to The Christian Science Monitor

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On a morning when the news was filled with WikiLeaks documents highlighting problems with the US war in Afghanistan, Minnesota Governor and potential Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty called for “strategic patience” in the war effort and rejected setting “an arbitrary or an inflexible deadline” for withdrawal of American forces.

Governor Pawlenty spoke at a Monitor-sponsored breakfast with national political reporters. He had just returned from a Defense Department trip with four other governors to Iraq and Afghanistan.

“The situation in Afghanistan and the region more broadly is extremely complex; it is extremely complicated, and the president and leadership of our country need to do a better job of explaining why it matters, what it is going to take, and how long it is going to take,” Pawlenty said.

President Obama has announced a plan to begin pulling US troops out of Afghanistan next summer. The administration has argued the plan will be tailored to conditions on the ground at the time.

Pawlenty characterized the plan more harshly, referring at one point to “this idea that we are going to set an arbitrary deadline or an inflexible deadline about when we are going to be there.”

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