News / Asia

    Clinton Defends Obama’s 'Tough Call' on Afghan Troop Levels

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talks with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. John Kerry (L), and the committee's ranking Republican, Sen. Richard Lugar on Capitol Hill, June 23, 2011, prior to testifying on U.S. policies in Afghanistan a
    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talks with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. John Kerry (L), and the committee's ranking Republican, Sen. Richard Lugar on Capitol Hill, June 23, 2011, prior to testifying on U.S. policies in Afghanistan a

    Multimedia

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Senators that President Barack Obama’s decision to withdraw 33,000 American troops from Afghanistan by the end of next summer was a “tough call” that strikes the right balance amid competing interests.  At a Senate hearing, Clinton heard complaints from members of both parties about the level of U.S. spending for Afghanistan.


    Clinton was widely reported to have sided with U.S. military chiefs in urging a more cautious withdrawal policy.

    But in Senate testimony, she said she fully supports the terms announced late Wednesday by the president, saying it was a “tough call” amid competing advice from members of his national security team.

    “It will not surprise you that the views range across the spectrum about what should be done and what should not be done.  But I think that the president, with his decision, has hit the mark.  He has answered what is a very legitimate concern, not only of this Congress but of the American public, that this has been a very long conflict for the United States,” she said.

    Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee told Clinton while they supported the U.S. decision to intervene in Afghanistan in 2001, the level of commitment now is disproportionate in terms of other foreign policy interests, and the need to cut the U.S. budget deficit.

    The ranking committee Republican, Indiana Senator Richard Lugar, urged the Obama administration to more narrowly define its goals in Afghanistan, and to recognize the sources of threats to U.S. interests have migrated elsewhere during the past decade.

    “Administration officials have testified that Yemen is the most likely source of a terrorist attack against American interests in the short term.  Further we know that al-Qaida has a far more significant presence in Pakistan that in Afghanistan.  To the extent that our purpose in Afghanistan is to confront the global terrorist threat, we should be refocusing resources on Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, parts of North Africa and other locations,” Lugar said.

    Democratic Senator Dick Durbin said the United States is expending the lives of hundreds of troops and $120 billion a year on a conflict less than critical to its strategic interests.

    “I have a real skepticism about our mission in Afghanistan at this moment.  I do not have great confidence in the leadership in Afghanistan, either in its competence or its honesty.  I worry about the money that we are shoveling into this country in sums that are unimaginable in this poor and under-developed country,” Durbin said.

    Clinton said the president’s plan will provide the security needed to build self-sufficient local Afghan security forces and facilitate a political solution to the conflict.

    She said that would necessarily have to involve Taliban elements who renounce violence and al-Qaida, and she said the United States is involved in tentative outreach to insurgent figures.

    “The United States has a broad range of contacts at many levels across Afghanistan and the region that we are leveraging to support this effort, including very preliminary outreach to members of the Taliban.  This is not a pleasant business, but a necessary one,” Clinton said.

    Clinton said while the U.S. combat role in Afghanistan will end as planned in 2014, NATO, as agreed at its summit last November in Lisbon, will have a “continuing presence” in Afghanistan after that date, the nature of which is being negotiated.

    You May Like

    Multimedia Obama Calls on Americans to Help the Families of Its War Dead

    In last Memorial Day of his presidency, Obama lays wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora