A transcript of the Prime Minister’s appearance on Fox is now online. One excerpt below.
WALLACE: You said recently that Afghanistan has had an insurgency for most of its history, and then you added this, “Quite frankly, we are not going to ever defeat the insurgency.” Prime Minister, does that mean that we’re going to have to learn to live with Al Qaida and the Taliban in that part of the world?
HARPER: No, I wouldn’t — I wouldn’t put it that way. I think what Secretary Gates said is correct, that first of all, we absolutely have to see the elimination of any kind of threat to the wider world, to North America.
Obviously, the Al Qaida insurgency and the Al Qaida element of this has to be — has to be eliminated. I think we agree with that. In terms of the rest of it, you know, I don’t think it’s a case that we — we’ve got to see progress on the insurgency. We’ve got to see a state where the Afghan government can handle its own day-to-day security. I just think it would be unrealistic to suggest we’re going to eliminate every last domestic insurgent in Afghanistan. Certainly, the history of the country would indicate that’s not a very realistic objective, and I think we have to have realistic objectives.
WALLACE: But — but — but forgive me, sir. Your statement was a little broader than that. You said we’re not going to ever defeat the insurgency, not eliminate every single bad guy out there. That seems to indicate you think that we’re not going to be able to defeat Al Qaida.
HARPER: Well, I think if you — if you actually look at my comments in context, this is what I was saying. I do believe you’ll see some kind of insurgency in Afghanistan for some time to come. It’s been the nature of that country, unfortunately.
But we certainly want to see a situation where the Afghan government can handle that security situation on a day-to-day basis, where they can take care of their own responsibility, and obviously where the insurgency is of a nature that it doesn’t threaten the wider global community.