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

Video Obama to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, President says US will take leadership role for a global response to deadly Ebola virus that is ravaging West Africa More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid