News

US Defense Chief Vows to Defeat Taleban Insurgents

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the United States and its allies are determined to prevent extremists from taking control of Afghanistan again. He made the statement in neighboring Pakistan after talks with President Pervez Musharraf on how to defeat Taleban insurgents operating on both sides of the border. From Islamabad, Ayaz Gul reports.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates had complimentary words for Pakistan Monday, even though the U.S. and Afghan governments have long been complaining that Taleban insurgents are using Pakistani border areas for attacks into Afghanistan.

After meeting with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf here, the Pentagon chief told reporters at an air base near Islamabad their discussions focused on how to prevent militant activity on the border.

"We talked about the importance of seizing the offensive this spring to deal the Taleban and al-Qaida a strategic set back," said Gates. "So, I think there is a mutual interest in improving our effectiveness, improving our coordination, and the understanding that we have a real opportunity this spring."

The year 2006 saw the deadliest upsurge in violence in Afghanistan since the removal of the Taleban regime five and a half years ago. There are fears Taleban extremists will step up their attacks as warmer weather melts snow in the mountain passes the insurgents use for infiltration from the Pakistani side of the border.

President Musharraf and other Pakistani officials have repeatedly argued they are not to blame for the rising violence in Afghanistan, saying they have taken all possible steps to secure the border.

Gates said those steps were being taken at a high cost.

"My sense is that Pakistan is playing a very constructive role," added Gates. "It's incurring significant cost in lives, and I might add in treasure, in fighting this battle on the border. There are always ways that all of us can improve, that includes NATO and the U.S, the Afghans. "

He admitted that the United States neglected Afghanistan after Soviet troops withdrew from the country in 1989. The defense secretary says that policy encouraged extremist forces to take control of the country, where the terrorist strikes on the United States in September 2001 were planned.

"After the Soviets left, the United States made a mistake. We neglected Afghanistan and extremism took control of that country," he said. "The United States paid a price for that on September 11, 2001. We won't make that mistake again. We are here for the long haul."

Even as Gates and Mr. Musharraf were meeting, news reports were quoting the governor of Afghanistan's Helmand province as saying 700 insurgents had crossed over from Pakistan in advance of a suspected military operation.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs