Mullen says U.S. troops will have ‘long-term relationship with Afghanistan.’

In response to a question about how long U.S. troops are expected to stay in Afghanistan, Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen said today that his “expectation is that we will have a long-term relationship with Afghanistan.” He emphasized that the “best number” he can offer right now is that we need to “turn the tide” against the Taliban in the next 12-18 months. Watch it:

Later in the press conference, Mullen said leaders in the region are “very wary” that the U.S. won’t make a long-term commitment to them. He explained that when he travels in Afghanistan and Pakistan, “the question that comes up either directly or indirectly is — are you staying this time or are you leaving?”