News / Asia

    Gates Faces Soldiers' Questions on Bin Laden's Death

    U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates addresses troops at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Sharana in Paktika Province, Afghanistan, June 6, 2011
    U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates addresses troops at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Sharana in Paktika Province, Afghanistan, June 6, 2011

    While visiting troops in eastern Afghanistan, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates faced more of their questions about how the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden would affect them.

    U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates continued his farewell tour of Afghanistan before he steps down as defense secretary at the end of this month.

    A Purple Heart medal is seen on the uniform of U.S Army Lt Colonel Alan Streeter after U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates presented the award for wounds he received in combat, during a ceremony at Combat Outpost Andar in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan,
    A Purple Heart medal is seen on the uniform of U.S Army Lt Colonel Alan Streeter after U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates presented the award for wounds he received in combat, during a ceremony at Combat Outpost Andar in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan,

    After thanking the troops for their sacrifices, Gates took time to answer questions from the service men and women at U.S. military bases in eastern Afghanistan.

    At almost all the stops, including those a day earlier in the south, he faced questions about what, if any, effect the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden would have on the Afghan war.

    Gates said he believed they would know by the end of the year, adding one of the biggest benefits he foresaw would be a possible weakening between the Taliban and al-Qaida.

    “I think, you know, it is a month since bin Laden was killed, so I think it is really just too early to know what the impact will be at this point," Gates said. "I think the one potential benefit is that bin Laden and Mullah Omar were very close personally. If I were Taliban, I would often be asking, 'What did al-Qaida ever do for me, except get me kicked out of Afghanistan?'”

    At Forward Operating Base Sharana in Paktika Province, U.S. Army Colonel Sean Jenkins told reporters many Afghan insurgents are coming back from Pakistan, but the level of fighting has not risen.  

    “We have not seen the rise that we thought we would see by this time, given early June, that we expected with the announcement of the spring offensive by the enemy," Jenkins said. "They are still very capable, and we saw that here shortly, days ago, when we lost one of our own.”

    Defense officials point to eastern Afghanistan as a likely location for the insurgents to rally. Colonel Jenkins says the Pakistani military is an important ally in combating this. But since U.S. special forces killed bin Laden in Pakistan in May, public frictions have existed between the countries' civilian governments.

    Jenkins maintains the military relationship still is going strong and that he meets with his Pakistani counterparts once a month to discuss the effort.  But he admits the Pakistani side postponed their most recent meeting, scheduled to take place after bin Laden's death.

    After completing his visit to Afghanistan, Gates heads to the NATO security conference in Brussels.  The conference is expected to focus, in part, on the situation in Afghanistan as well as the coalition's strategy in Libya.

    You May Like

    Vietnam Urges US to Lift Lethal Weapons Ban Amid S. China Sea Tensions

    US president’s upcoming visit to Vietnam underscores strength of relationship, and lifting embargo would reflect that trust, ambassador says

    Are US Schools Turning a Blind Eye to Radical Qatari Preachers?

    Parade of radical Islamist clerics using mosque at Qatar’s Education City draws mounting criticism for American universities that maintain satellite branches there

    Why Islamic State Is Down But Not Out

    Despite loss of territory, group’s ferocious attacks over past three months seen as testimony to its continued durability and resourcefulness

    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.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    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 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.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora