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

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid