"We moved on to discuss Afghanistan, where we are the two largest contributors of forces to the international mission and where our forces continue to make extraordinary sacrifices. The tragic events of recent days are a reminder that this continues to be a very difficult mission. And obviously we both have lost a number of extraordinary young men and women in theater. What’s also undeniable, though -- and what we can never forget -- is that our forces are making very real progress: dismantling al Qaeda; breaking the Taliban’s momentum; and training Afghan forces so that they can take the lead and our troops can come home.""There are going to be multiple challenges along the way. In terms of pace, I don't anticipate, at this stage, that we're going to be making any sudden additional changes to the plan that we currently have. We have already taken out 10,000 of our troops. We’re slated to draw down an additional 23,000 by this summer. There will be a robust coalition presence inside of Afghanistan during this fighting season to make sure that the Taliban understand that they're not going to be able to regain momentum."
Despite their obligatory cautions of warfare, the two leaders speak as though nothing is wrong with NATO's strategy in the short or long term. In attempting to avoid comparisons between Afghanistan and Vietnam, Western leaders are adding to the existing similarities.