News / USA

    Obama: World Has Vital Interest in Success of Afghanistan Mission

    President Barack Obama speaks at the start of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) meeting on Afghanistan at the NATO Summit in Chicago, May 21, 2012.President Barack Obama speaks at the start of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) meeting on Afghanistan at the NATO Summit in Chicago, May 21, 2012.
    x
    President Barack Obama speaks at the start of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) meeting on Afghanistan at the NATO Summit in Chicago, May 21, 2012.
    President Barack Obama speaks at the start of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) meeting on Afghanistan at the NATO Summit in Chicago, May 21, 2012.
    CHICAGO - President Barack Obama says the world has a vital interest in the long-term success of the NATO mission in Afghanistan.  NATO has reaffirmed plans to hand over combat operations to Afghanistan's military next year.  

    President Obama and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen presided over discussions involving members of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

    The session included nations whose logistical and financial support will be crucial to sustaining Afghanistan's military after the scheduled December 31, 2014 target to withdraw all foreign combat forces, currently numbering about 130,000 troops.

    Obama was seated next to the ISAF commander, U.S. Marine Corps General John Allen. Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai sat next to NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the large circular table.

    Saying the presence of so many countries illustrated the international nature of the mission, Obama declared the transition to Afghan-led security well underway, and spoke about the next milestone.

    "We will set a goal for Afghan forces to take the lead for combat operations across the country in 2013, next year, so that ISAF can move to a supporting role," said the U.S. president. "This will be another step [in] Afghan Forces taking full lead for their security as agreed to by 2014 when the ISAF combat operation will end."

    • Demonstrators flow out of Grant Park in Chicago during this weekend's NATO summit Sunday, May 20, 2012 in Chicago.
    • U.S. President Barack Obama during a meeting with Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai at the NATO Summit at McCormick Place in Chicago, May 20, 2012.
    • Leaders watch a ceremony honoring NATO military personnel for their service the NATO Summit meeting in Chicago, May 20, 2012.
    • NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen arrives at the NATO Summit in Chicago, May 21, 2012.
    • A demonstrator sits in a tree Grant Park before a march in Chicago, May 20, 2012.
    • A Chicago Police officer confronts a protester during a march and rally at this weekend's NATO summit.
    • German Chancellor Angela Merkel talks to President Obama at the Summit. At left is NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
    • Leaders pose for a family photo outside Soldier Field, May 20, 2012.
    • President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron help Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen find his toe marker.
    • Valerie Trierweiler, partner of Francois Hollande, and first lady Michelle Obama watch a student explain the making of a meal during a tour of the Gary Corner Youth Center in Chicago.
    • A protester covered in silver paint purchases a rail ticket following an anti-NATO protest march in Chicago, May 20, 2012.
    Obama made a point of noting the presence of officials from Russia and Central Asian countries that he said provide critical transit for ISAF supplies in and out of Afghanistan.

    Ambassador Grossman: US, Pakistan Discuss Supply Routes

    A top U.S. official said the United States and Pakistan are discussing efforts to reopen NATO supply routes from Pakistan into Afghanistan.

    In an interview with VOA's Urdu Service Monday, Ambassador Marc Grossman said negotiations have been underway for weeks. Grossman, the U.S. envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, said negotiators are "working away."

    Islamabad suggested last week it would soon reopen the ground supply routes to U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. Pakistan closed them after U.S.-led airstrikes mistakenly killed 24 Pakistani soldiers along the Afghan border last November.  

    Pakistan is seeking heavy taxes on future NATO convoys - a condition diplomatic sources say is hindering the talks.

    Grossman rejected accusations that it was insulting for Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari to attend the NATO summit and not meet with President Barack Obama on the sidelines.
    A major NATO objective on Monday was agreeing on reliable commitments to help support Afghanistan going forward to make sure that, as Obama put it, "hard-won progress is preserved."

    "Today we can agree on NATO's long-term relationship with Afghanistan beyond 2014, including our support of Afghan security forces," he said.

    NATO Secretary General Rasmussen said ISAF played
    a vital role in denying terrorists a safe haven in Afghanistan, and now the world must help ensure a secure and democratic Afghanistan in a stable region.

    "By the end of 2014 the ISAF operation will terminate and the NATO-led combat mission will end. But our commitment is for the long term," said Rasmussen. "From 2015 we expect to maintain a NATO-led presence to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces and NATO, and ISAF nations will also pay their share to help sustain the army and police Afghanistan needs for the coming years.

    "Sustaining Afghan government forces beyond 2014 is estimated to cost about $4 billion.  After shouldering the bulk of the financial burden for so many years, the United States is seeking $1.3 billion in commitments.  

    Without mentioning specific numbers, White House official Ben Rhodes told reporters NATO is "far along on the path" to achieving the $1.3 billion objective.

    The final summit declaration calls for the international community to commit to the long-term sustainment of Afghanistan's security forces, saying funding will be guided by principles including transparency, accountability, cost effectiveness and measures against corruption.

    You May Like

    Brexit Vote Triggers Increase in Racist Attacks

    Britain's decision to leave European Union seen by some as 'permission' to unleash anti-immigrant resentment

    Russian Military Tests Readiness With Snap Inspections

    Some observers see surprise drill as tit-for-tat response to NATO’s recent multinational military exercises in Baltic region

    AIIB Takes Big Strides Amid Fears About China's Dominance

    Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank says it is independent, but concerns persist; China holds 20.6 percent of bank's shares, others have less than 7.5 percent each

    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.
    Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmarki
    X
    John Owens
    June 26, 2016 2:04 PM
    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora