News / Asia

Obama Tells VOA US Will Not Abandon Afghanistan Despite Troop Cuts

President Barack Obama during an interview with Voice of America in the Map Room of the White House June 22, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
President Barack Obama during an interview with Voice of America in the Map Room of the White House June 22, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

President Barack Obama has discussed the current situation in Afghanistan in an interview with the Voice of America.

The president says his decision to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan does not mean the U.S. is abandoning that country.

"Keep in mind that we're talking about 10,000 troops by the end of this year, an additional 23,000 by the end of next summer - and we'll still have 68,000 troops there, in addition to the coalition partner troops," President Obama said. "So there is still going to be a substantial presence.  But what it does signal is that Afghans are slowly taking more and more responsibility."



Phased transition


The president says his decision is consistent with what he called a phased transition process.

"Already there are Afghans out there every day who are fighting the fight, Afghans who are dying on behalf of their country, and their freedom, and their dignity," he noted.  "And what we want to make sure of is that we continue to be a good partner with that process, but also want to send a signal to the Afghan people: this is your country ultimately and you are going to have responsibilities."

Common ground

In recent months, Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been critical of the United States.  But President Obama says overall, he shares the same goals.

"Obviously, there are going to be tensions in a difficult environment where we have a large number of foreign troops inside a country," Obama said.  "It is true that there have been times where the tactics on the ground, day to day, result in tensions.  But overall, his interest in making sure that Afghanistan is not a safe haven for terrorists, that there is an adherence to the Afghan constitution.  Those commitments that he's made are the ones that are entirely consistent with what I see as U.S. interests."

Peace prospects

President Obama emphasized that there has to be a political settlement to bring about genuine peace in the region.

"But the terms of that political settlement are important, and we've been very clear in our criteria," he stressed.  "We will encourage the Afghans, and we ourselves will talk to anybody.  But they are going to have to break ties with al-Qaida, they are going to have to pledge to abide by the Afghan constitution and they will have to cease violence as a means of bringing about political power.  If they take those steps, then I think there is a strong possibility of creating the kind of political settlement that would finally give Afghans relief from 30 years of war."

Pakistan

As for relations between the United States and Pakistan, Obama says that relationship has become more honest over time.

"That raises some differences that are real," the president said. "Obviously, the operation to take out Osama bin Laden created additional tensions, but I had always been very clear to Pakistan that if we ever found him [bin Laden] and had a shot, that we would take it."

President Obama says "Pakistan not only has a responsibility but also a deep interest in dealing with terrorist elements that are still in their territory."

Brookings analyst Michael O'Hanlon's reaction to President Obama's speech:

You May Like

Video Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had warned storm could be one of worst in city history More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites 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.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid