News / Europe

US, Allies Consider Leaving Up to 12,000 Troops in Afghanistan

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta gives a thumbs-up to U.S. Ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Ivo Daalder before boarding his aircraft and departing, in Brussels, Belgium, Feb. 22, 2013.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta gives a thumbs-up to U.S. Ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Ivo Daalder before boarding his aircraft and departing, in Brussels, Belgium, Feb. 22, 2013.
Luis Ramirez
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says NATO allies are considering leaving between 8,000 and 12,000 international troops in Afghanistan after 2014.

The force would be left to help Afghans maintain stability in the country after most international troops pull out by the end of 2014.

The U.S. has said it has made no decision yet on how many of its troops will stay. Germany's defense minister offered a differing account, telling reporters Friday that U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta had mentioned 8,000 to 12,000 U.S. troops would remain.  

Panetta clarifies

At a briefing before boarding his flight back to Washington, Panetta countered those remarks.

“That report is not correct. We did discuss a range of options and what we discussed was a range of options that would be directed to the NATO force overall, which includes both the U.S. force contribution that we would make, plus what other NATO countries would contribute as well,” said Panetta.

U.S. officials say the range of international troops to remain - including Americans - is between 8,000 and 12,000.

Warning given

At the meeting this week, NATO officials voiced concerns about members' shrinking defense budgets and the ability of the alliance to conduct future operations. Panetta, in his parting remarks, had a warning.

"There's no question in the current budget environment, with deep cuts in European defense spending and the kind of political gridlock that we see in the United States now with regards to our own budget, is putting at risk our ability to effectively act together," said Panetta. "As I prepare to step down as secretary of defense, I do fear that the alliance will soon be, if it is not already, stretched too thin."

This meeting was to be the debut of former senator Chuck Hagel as the new U.S. defense secretary. However, U.S. lawmakers have delayed Hagel's confirmation, which required Panetta to put off his retirement and make the trip to NATO headquarters.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
February 23, 2013 12:18 AM
Afghanistan is in Asia, maybe it is time to start getting some of the Asian countries involved in mantaining/helping in stabilizing Afghanistan. At the end of the day NATO needs to depart. No matter how well NATO tries, it is not the face of Asians, nor the spirit of Islam, nor is it in any way related to the culture of the area. A real long term sustainability strategy is still not observable; after 11 yrs, surely something must have been developed, somewhere in NATO?. A few that could be good candidates, if gvmts are willing, Kazaks, Uzbecks, Mongols, Burmese, Viet-Namese, Indonessians, Malasyians, etc... may be able to help in the long term sustainability picture...Afgh will need partners for quite some time, and they may be better accepted if they are from the region, than people coming from Berlin or New York. Karzai also needs to get to work, some day, on these issues... How often has he engaged his neghbours, other than Pak? time for him to work!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fairi
X
Brian Padden
May 29, 2015 1:27 PM
With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs