Petraeus: U.S. Aiming For 'Good Enough' In Afghanistan (VIDEO)

08/20/2010 04:46 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

General David Petraeus, the top U.S. military and NATO commander in Afghanistan, continued his media blitz this week with a CBS interview on Thursday.

Katie Couric spoke to Petraeus, who insisted that "we're making progress," but acknowledged NATO forces must "make a lot more."

Couric asked the general why, after nine years, 1,200 U.S. military deaths, and $300 billion spent, the U.S. should still be in Afghanistan.

Petraeus responded:

We should remember why we're here - this is where the 9/11 attacks were planned. It is very much a vital national security interest to the U.S. and really all of the countries of the world that are fighting extremism to make sure that there are not sanctuaries in this country once again from which transnational extremists can launch attacks.

The general's interview is the latest in an attempt to rally support for an increasingly unpopular war in advance of the Obama administration's vague withdraw date of July 2011.

In his interview with Couric, Petraeus spoke in generalities about the progress that U.S. is aiming for in Afghanistan.

"We're not trying to turn Afghanistan into Switzerland in 5 years or less," Petraeus told Couric. "What's good enough, traditional organizing structures and so forth are certainly fine."

What counts as "good enough" for the U.S. mission in Afghanistan is unclear.

In July, Republican Senator Richard Lugar, of Indiana, complained that the U.S.-led war effort "lacks clarity."

"Arguably, we could make progress for decades . . . - on security, on employment, good governance, women's rights, other goals - expending billions of dollars each year without ever reaching a satisfying conclusion," Lugar said.

Petraeus downplayed the 2011 timetable for a withdraw, telling Couric, "There is no intent to look for the exits and turn out the light come next July 2011."

Complicating any U.S. withdraw is the poor state of the Afghan National Army.

On Thursday, The Economist reported that just 23% of Afghan soldiers could work unsupervised and that during joint operations, they are "almost totally reliant on NATO troops, who suffer twice as many casualties."

The grim figures may be unsurprising following a recent, a vivd account of an Afghan-led mission that went terribly wrong.

WATCH: Couric interviews Petraeus

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