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

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    How Diversity Has Changed America

    Over the past four decades, the level of diversity in the United States has increased most in these four states

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.