Secretary Rumsfeld at Press Conference in Berlin
Q: Mr. Secretary, Will Dunham with Reuters.
Is the United States considering reducing American forces in Afghanistan by about 20 percent, roughly 4,000? And do you agree with the notion that as the number of NATO forces in Afghanistan increases and Afghan security forces become more capable, the number of U.S. forces could be reduced?
SECRETARY RUMSFELD: This question comes up periodically and I find that the answer, I almost feel like you could flip a switch in my back and give the same answer.
The first part of the answer is that the only people that are going to increase or decrease U.S. forces in Iraq or Afghanistan will be the President of the United States or me, and it will result from recommendations from the field commanders.
The second part of the answer is we constantly are asking our field commanders to look at the situation, see what the conditions are, and then we ask our planners in the Pentagon, in the services, to look at various levels of forces -- higher, same, lower -- and we have been increasing or decreasing them as the circumstances required for some number of years now.
If and when there is any decision to reduce forces, I will announce it. In the mean time, you're going to see all kinds of people looking at all different kinds of scenarios. I mean right now we've increased forces in Afghanistan because of the Afghan election. We did the same thing for the presidential election in Afghanistan. I think you're just chasing the wrong rabbit, frankly........