News

    Europe-NATO React Positively to Obama Troop Surge

    British Prime Minister Gordon Brown welcomes the increase, which will bring US troops strength in Afghanistan to around 100,000

    Multimedia

    Audio

    There has been initial positive reaction from Europe and NATO to President Barack Obama's announcement that he will send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan to fight the Taliban and al Qaida.  

    It was a long and eagerly-awaited decision - certainly in Britain, the second-largest contributor of troops to Afghanistan.

    "As Commander in Chief, I have determined that it is in our vital national interest to send an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan," said President Obama.  "After 18 months, our troops will begin to come home."

    Speaking in the House of Commons Wednesday, Prime Minister Gordon Brown welcomed the increase, which will bring U.S. troops strength in Afghanistan to around 100,000.

    "I think the whole House will welcome the announcement by President Obama - both of the objectives to the mission in relation to the Taliban and in relation to al Qaida, but also the numbers of troops, a very substantial part of which will go into Helmand province and will be an assistance in dealing with the Taliban insurgency there," said Mr. brown.

    Britain has 9,500 troops in Afghanistan, including Special Forces, and Mr. Brown promised 500 more earlier in the week.

    But it is not just U.S. and British forces involved, about 40 other countries have sent troops under the banner of NATO.
     
    In Brussels, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen welcomed President Obama's announcement.

    "I think it is a right decision for Afghanistan and for NATO.  This is not a U.S. mission alone," he said. "There are 43 countries on the ground under NATO command and I am confident that other allies and partners will also make a substantial increase in their contributions."

    The war in Afghanistan has come at a cost.  More than 1,500 foreign troops have been killed in Afghanistan since the war started in 2001; more than 900 of them American.

    While support for the troops generally remains high, opinion polls show support for the war does not, indicating uncertainty about the ability to succeed and get out have been voiced openly - and not just in Britain. 

    To many, President Obama's announcement that U.S. troops would begin coming home by mid 2011 will be welcome.  But, security analyst David Livingstone of London's Chatham House research center says hard deadlines can spell problems.

    "It may well be that the Taliban will redouble their efforts to put political pressure by making that date unachievable and therefore create some instability in public perception of how this campaign is going to be fought in the longer term," said Livingstone.

    President Obama made clear the United States cannot go it alone.

    "Our friends have fought and bled and died alongside us in Afghanistan.  Now, we must come together to end this war successfully," said Mr. Obama. "For what is at stake is not simply a test of NATO's credibility - what is at stake is the security of our Allies, and the common security of the world."

    The NATO Secretary General says he is confident more troops will be sent.  But European leaders have been reluctant to make firm new pledges.  The issue is a top agenda item when alliance foreign ministers meet this week in Brussels.

    Talks are to continue January 28 at a special summit on Afghanistan in London. 

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora