News / Asia

US Troop Presence in Afghanistan Doubtful

Continued US Troop Presence in Afghanistan in Doubti
X
November 27, 2013
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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid