News

DUPLICATE DO NOT PUBLISH Afghan Killings Provoke More Discussion of US Mission

Luis Ramirez

The recent shooting of Afghan civilians allegedly by a U.S. soldier is provoking more discussion about the future of America's mission in Afghanistan.  The shooting and other recent incidents involving U.S. forces are prompting calls for a reexamination of Washington's exit strategy.

Anti-American demonstrations in Afghanistan are a contrast from a decade ago, when many Afghans welcomed U.S. troops and the end of Taliban rule.

But soon, the United States concentrated its efforts on Iraq and, some say, neglected Afghanistan.  And the conflict has become the longest war in American history.  

Dan Wagner, a retired U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant colonel, served two tours of duty in Afghanistan -- his first one early in the war.

“There was a sense of optimism.  There was a sense of possibility.  We had just gotten started there, really, and we began to make some inroads in terms of building infrastructure and governance, so there was a sense of possibility,” Wagner said.  

That optimism faded as the war continued and Afghan welcomes turned to protests -- most notably after incidents such as the recent inadvertent burning of the Quran by U.S. forces and an American soldier's alleged shooting rampage.  

Wagner says he saw Afghan attitudes toward U.S. forces change.

“The difference in what happened in 2011, in my most recent tour when I was dealing with the local population, is more pessimism.  I would say [there was] more uncertainty and skepticism about our long-term commitment and what their future was going to be,” Wagner said.

For U.S. infantrymen in Afghanistan, mistrust and resentment among the local population means a nightmare scenario on the front, where some U.S. troops report it is often difficult to tell who is a friend and who is an enemy.  

The stresses of a long, complicated war have prompted calls by some U.S. politicians for an early withdrawal.  Some have pointed to the stress on U.S. forces as a possible contributor to incidents such as the recent shooting rampage.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has gone to Afghanistan and denounced the soldier’s apparent rampage.  He also pledged that there will be no change in America's fundamental strategy to transfer security responsibility to Afghan forces by the end of 2014.

Washington says that overall the effort has been successful, with more than half of Afghanistan now under government control.

President Barack Obama said recently that although the U.S. is not speeding up the withdrawal, it is not ruling out possible adjustments to the plan.

“Meanwhile, we will continue the work of devastating the al-Qaida leadership and denying them a safe haven,” Obama said.

After its pullout in 2014, the United States says it will support the Afghan government mostly with special operations forces and drones.

It is part of a new strategy that includes staying engaged with the Afghan leadership, but with a less visible presence.

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.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
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 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 Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
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 S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
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 Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. 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.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs