Obama Launches Afghanistan War Strategy Ahead of National Address

President Obama is to announce the strategy in a national address Tuesday night. He is expected to send about 30,000 additional American troops to fight in Afghanistan


Michael Bowman

President Barack Obama has initiated a new U.S. strategy for Afghanistan ahead of a Tuesday night speech to the nation on the future of U.S. efforts in the strife-torn nation. 

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs says President Obama informed his national security team of his strategy decision for Afghanistan late Sunday, and issued orders for its implementation.

Since then, the president has held a series of telephone calls with U.S. allies, a process that will continue through Tuesday, when Mr. Obama is scheduled to unveil his revised Afghan war strategy to the nation in an address from the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Press Secretary Gibbs declined to divulge specific details about the strategy, which the administration has been pondering for months amid a deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, a contested national election there and public opinion polls showing declining American support for the eight-year war.

But one day before President Obama was expected to announce a troop buildup in the tens of thousands, Gibbs repeatedly stressed that the U.S. military commitment in Afghanistan is not open-ended. "We are not going to be there forever.  And we do not have the resources - manpower or budgetary - to be primarily responsible for the security of Afghanistan.  Afghans have to be primarily responsible for that security," he said. 

Gibbs said a major goal will be to train Afghan forces so that they can assume control of areas secured by foreign troops.

For the plan to succeed, however, the press secretary said the United States needs a reliable partner in Kabul. "It is time for a new chapter in our relationship as it relates to corruption and improved governance in order to address the security situation," he said.

The press secretary said President Obama will touch on the costs of the new plan for Afghanistan in Tuesday's speech, but that he is unlikely to delve into the subject in detail.  Gibbs stressed that the financial impact has been part of the administration's deliberations from the beginning.  He declined to comment on whether Mr. Obama would consider a proposal by some fellow Democrats in Congress for a special war tax to pay for an expanded U.S. mission in Afghanistan.

Some Democratic lawmakers say they worry that mounting war expenditures will sap the already-debt-ridden federal budget of funds that could otherwise pay for domestic priorities.  Cost estimates for the 30,000 to 35,000-troop build-up Mr. Obama is expected to announce run as high as $75 billion.

Gibbs said that while outlining and advocating a new way forward in Afghanistan, Mr. Obama's speech will address the need for strengthened diplomatic engagement with neighboring Pakistan, which is also threatened by militant extremists.

President Obama has described Afghanistan as a war the United States cannot afford to lose.  But he has also decried what he sees as the previous administration's diversion of resources away from Afghanistan in order to wage war in Iraq.

Analysts say that in Tuesday's address to the nation, the president will stress that success in Afghanistan can still be attained, and that further investment and sacrifice are necessary and worthwhile.

Mr. Obama is expected to refer to the enhanced Afghan mission as an international endeavor.  Britain announced on Monday that it will send 500 additional troops to Afghanistan in the next few weeks, boosting its forces in the country to more than 10,000.

This forum has been closed.
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.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs