The U.S. envoy to the United Nations rejects claims that the Obama administration's pace of determining a strategy in Afghanistan is a sign of weakness.
"What would be weak and dangerous indeed would be to rush into a decision of this magnitude without thoroughly considering all of the implications for U.S. national security, without taking into account the posture and the capacity of the Afghan government — indeed, what's happening in Pakistan as well," Susan Rice tells NPR's Michele Norris. "It is wise and beneficial to our interests and, I think, projects a wisdom and a strength rather than weakness."
Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, says as many as 40,000 more troops are needed for a counterinsurgency strategy. The Obama administration says it is weighing its options, and will make a decision on the strategy review soon.
In the meantime, security in Afghanistan is deteriorating. Last week, militants attacked a U.N. guesthouse in Kabul, killing five U.N. workers. In response, the U.N. announced a temporary pullback of half its foreign staff from the country.
Rice calls the attack "deliberate and targeted."
"I think it is dealing with reality," she says. "We need the U.N. to be effective, and it's going to continue to do that, but if it is vulnerable to attack, that's not sustainable."