Administration Concerned About US Public Support for Afghan War


The Obama administration is keeping a close watch on developments in Afghanistan amidst rising violence and growing tensions surrounding last week's national elections. Meanwhile, U.S. military officials admit they are concerned about signs of slipping American public support for the Afghan war.

In an interview with CNN, America's top military officer, Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen called the Afghan situation "serious and deteriorating."

Later, on NBC's Meet the Press, he was asked about the impact conditions there are having on U.S. public opinion.

In a recent poll conducted by the Washington Post newspaper and the ABC broadcast network, just over 50 percent of respondents said the war in Afghanistan is not worth fighting.

Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made clear the drop in support is worrisome.

"I am a Vietnam veteran myself," he said. "I am certainly aware of the criticality of support of the American people for this war and in fact any war. And certainly the numbers are of concern."

But Mullen emphasized the administration has a new strategy in place in Afghanistan, and is moving forward.

He stressed the threat posed by militants in the region is too great for the United States to pull out.

"Afghanistan is very vulnerable in terms of Taliban and extremists taking over again and I don't think that threat is going to go away," added Mullen. "They still plot against us, see us as somebody they want to kill in terms of as many American lives as possible."

The Obama administration deployed thousands of additional troops in Afghanistan this year. The new commander of U.S. forces there - General Stanley McChrystal - is expected to deliver his first formal assessment to the White House in a matter of weeks - a report which is likely to fuel further discussions on troop levels.

In an interview broadcast on ABC's This Week program, Senator John McCain - the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services committee - said a major influx of manpower is needed.

McCain said he wants to see McChrystal use the same aggressive approach employed during the troop surge in Iraq.

"I think he ought to do what General Petraeus did and that is decide on exactly the number he needs and we debate it [in Congress] and the president makes the ultimate decision," he said.

Security is part of a three-prong approach the Obama administration has adopted toward Afghanistan, along with political progress and promoting development.

Karl Eikenberry, a retired general, is the new U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan. He told Meet the Press that last week's Afghan presidential election was historic, given the level of intimidation voters faced from the Taliban.

"I think it shows that there is great excitement in this country for the Afghans to regain control of their country, their sovereignty," Eikenberry. "We had a two month extraordinary election campaign that we just got through, a very exciting time in which there was unprecedented political activity."

Earlier, Eikenberry told CNN that there still is no firm figure on voter turnout for the Afghan election, acknowledging that Taliban intimidation had an impact, especially in southern Afghanistan.    

This forum has been closed.
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.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs