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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid