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.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    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.
    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.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.