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

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

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