News / Asia

    NATO to Plan for Afghan Pullout by Spring

    FILE - Italian soldiers with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) at Camp Arena, Herat Airport, west of Kabul, Afghanistan, Sept, 10, 2013.
    FILE - Italian soldiers with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) at Camp Arena, Herat Airport, west of Kabul, Afghanistan, Sept, 10, 2013.
    Reuters
    NATO would have to start planning for a complete withdrawal from Afghanistan by early next spring if President Hamid Karzai refuses to sign a security pact allowing foreign troops to stay on, the alliance's top military commander said on Tuesday.
     
    Karzai's ties with Washington have been strained by his refusal to sign a security agreement that will shape the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan beyond 2014 when most international troops will leave.
     
    Without the U.S.-Afghan accord, NATO says it will not be able to finalize its own agreement with the Afghan government setting the terms for troops from other allies to remain in Afghanistan after 2014.
     
    The United States and NATO say that, without these agreements, they would have to pull all of their forces, currently 84,000-strong, out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
     
    NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, said planning for the last rotation of combat soldiers would have to happen early next spring, around the time in April the country is holding its presidential election.
     
    Whether it leaves a small post-2014 training force, or goes for the “zero option” of pulling out all its forces, NATO would have to start planning then, Breedlove said.
     
    “If we were to go to a more drastic option in Afghanistan it takes a certain amount of time to get a force out of a nation ... And that timeline I don't think is well understood by President Karzai,” he told a small group of reporters.
     
    Karzai has shrugged off U.S. talk of a total military pullout from Afghanistan if he does not sign the security agreement as brinkmanship and said he would not back down on his conditions for the deal.
     
    Karzai told reporters in New Delhi last Saturday that the security pact was conditional on the United States stopping raids on Afghan homes and helping to restart a peace process with the Taliban.
     
    Breedlove also said that NATO was “not lacking offers” of troops to replace French soldiers who are due to leave the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Kosovo by the middle of next year.
     
    “We are in consultations with several nations at this moment,” he said, without specifying which countries.
     
    The larger problem was who would take over the running of a base at Novo Selo in Kosovo where French soldiers are currently stationed, he said.
     
    France plans to withdraw its 320 troops from Kosovo, citing commitments in Mali and Central African Republic.

    You May Like

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora