News / Asia

US Troop Presence in Afghanistan Doubtful

Continued US Troop Presence in Afghanistan in Doubti
X
November 27, 2013 10:13 PM
Delays in concluding a U.S.-Afghan security agreement have renewed debate in Washington over America's 12-year engagement and Afghanistan's future with or without a foreign military presence. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports that whether any U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan after next year is very much in doubt.
Michael Bowman
Delays in concluding a U.S.-Afghan security agreement have renewed debate in Washington over America's 12-year engagement and Afghanistan's future with or without a foreign military presence. Whether any U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan after next year is very much in doubt.

A deal for a residual U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan: it's what the Obama administration wants to finalize with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki:

“We want him to sign it as quickly as possible," said Psaki.

Karzai has set new conditions and wants to delay signing the accord until after next year’s elections, prompting U.S. threats of a complete withdrawal. The Afghan leader is overplaying his hand, according to analyst Anthony Cordesman.

“This [Afghanistan] is no longer the focus of terrorism, it is not a focus of meaningful American strategic interest. And I think if you look at the amount of money [spent], it vastly exceeded the strategic benefits," said  Cordesman.

“The Taliban has not gone away, it remains very resilient," said  Michael O’Hanlon.

Leaving Afghanistan entirely would be a mistake, according to analyst Michael O’Hanlon.

“We are partners in arms. We have been fighting and dying together against a common brutal foe. We are working together to give 30-million Afghan citizens the hope of a better future, and American citizens greater security that they will not be attacked by a terrorist organization," he said.

O’Hanlon compares the increasingly frosty relationship between the Obama and Karzai administrations to a “bad marriage”, but adds:

“Why do we want to throw away the sacrifice and the great investment we have made through the years with $600 billion in expenditures, more than 2,000 lives lost, and take a gamble that Afghanistan will not be a source of problems for us again?" he asked.

“If we suddenly cut off the Afghan government, there is a very serious risk that the country will divide and that the Taliban will be able to score major gains in the east and the south," said Cordesman.

But security in Afghanistan could take a turn for the worse even with a bilateral agreement, according to Cordesman.

“There will not be a presence at any large, significant level after 2014 [even with an accord in effect]. You will have rolled up virtually every aid activity in the field. You will be down to a very limited number of military posts, an embassy, and some consular facilities. So when you talk about leaving, it is actually very credible, because almost everything is leaving whether President Karzai signs or not," he said.

Cordesman says a complete withdrawal from Afghanistan would draw comparisons to America’s military disengagement from Iraq.  Potential dangers lurk for President Obama, according to Michael O’Hanlon.

“If we fail in the war that President Obama took ownership of and campaigned on as the right war to win, I think it will hurt his legacy," he said.

Whatever the potential consequences, the Obama administration says a complete U.S. troop withdrawal is a real possibility, and the time for signing an accord is growing short.

You May Like

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to enhancement or regression of democracy for Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid