News

Administration Concerned About US Public Support for Afghan War

Multimedia

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.
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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs