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

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community 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.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid