News / USA

    US General Gives Mixed Assessment of Afghanistan War

    Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington Nov. 15, 2012Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington Nov. 15, 2012
    x
    Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington Nov. 15, 2012
    Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington Nov. 15, 2012
    Michael Bowman
    A U.S. general nominated to oversee the drawdown of American troops in Afghanistan by 2014 says a central goal of the 11-year war has yet to be achieved. Marine General Joseph Dunford says terrorists and their Taliban allies continue to operate in Afghanistan.
     
    At his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, General Dunford acknowledged that America’s longest war has not met its primary original objective: rooting out al-Qaida and the militants who give sanctuary to terrorists.  But he cited statistics showing progress made as a result of multinational efforts in Afghanistan.

    “Seventy-six percent of the population is currently secured by Afghan security forces.  The vast preponderance of violence is now taking place outside of populated areas.  The Taliban have been displaced from the population, and I view that as a sign of success,” Dunford said.

    Dunford added that Afghanistan has recruited more than 300,000 security force members, and that he expects them to be fully-trained during the next year.  He said he is “encouraged” by what he has seen of the evolving capabilities of Afghan troops.

    Committee Chairman Carl Levin was one of several senators expressing grave concern about so-called “insider” attacks on coalition troops by Taliban militants who have infiltrated Afghan security forces.

    The committee’s top Republican, Senator John McCain, said the Obama administration’s planned drawdown of forces in Afghanistan constitutes a “rush to failure”.

    “The president’s repeated emphasis on withdrawal, without laying out what would constitute a successful and sustainable transition, has only fed the belief in Afghanistan that the United States is committed to getting out regardless of conditions on the ground.  This doubt has encouraged all actors in Afghanistan and in the region to hedge their bets, which increases the worst instincts of the Afghan government, and increases the chance of a return to civil conflict in our absence,” McCain said.

    General Dunford did not comment on administration policies.  President Barack Obama has said that ending the war in Afghanistan will allow the United States to tend to pressing needs at home.

    Senator McCain had a bottom-line question for the general. “Do you think we are winning the war in Afghanistan?”

    Dunford replied: “I think we are making progress, and I believe our objectives are achievable.”

    Dunford expressed hope the United States and Afghanistan can forge a security agreement for the post-2014 period, saying an accord would send an important message to militants in Afghanistan as well as to governments throughout the region.

    If confirmed, Dunford would be the sixth U.S. commander in Afghanistan, responsible for all NATO forces.  Fewer than 70,000 U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan, following the withdrawal of “surge” forces President Obama ordered to Afghanistan in 2009.

    An assistant commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, Dunford led a regiment in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

    You May Like

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells state's Republican Convention delegates campaign will be 'battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora