News / USA

Obama Meets With New Afghanistan Team, Defense Secretary

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with, clockwise from the President, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Lieutenant General John Allen, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, a
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with, clockwise from the President, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Lieutenant General John Allen, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, a

President Barack Obama discussed the U.S. troop drawdown in Afghanistan with the new U.S. commander and new U.S. ambassador who will be implementing his civilian and military strategy.  The president's day also included a meeting with new Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.

Lieutenant General John Allen, and Ambassador Ryan Crocker will be the new faces of a U.S. military and civilian effort in Afghanistan that has lasted a decade.

General Allen takes over leadership of the U.S. and NATO command, replacing General David Petraeus who the U.S. Senate confirmed last week in a 94 to 0 vote to head the CIA.

In a White House ceremony last April, Allen had this to say about being chosen by the president as the new U.S. Afghanistan commander.

"Sir, I am mindful of the significance of this responsibility and I am deeply committed to the leadership of the magnificent young men and women of our armed forces, and those of the armed forces of this great and historic coalition of nations," said General Allen.

On Tuesday, General Allen and Ambassador Crocker sat down with Mr. Obama in the Oval Office.   Also present were new Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen, and Vice President Joe Biden.

The White House did not provide media access, though it issued a photograph of the meeting  Press Secretary Jay Carney read from a formal statement.

"The President and his team discussed implementation of the next phase of our strategy in Afghanistan, including consolidation of the gains that have been made in breaking the Taliban’s momentum and training Afghan Security Forces; the reduction of U.S. troop levels that the President announced last month; and the process of transitioning lead security responsibility to the Afghan government," said Carney.

President Obama announced last month that 10,000 U.S. troops will leave Afghanistan by the end of this year, with another 23,000 to depart by September of 2012.

He said the withdrawal of the "surge" force sent in between 2009 and 2010 to counter Taliban advances, was made possible by significant progress made on the ground against, and in training Afghan government forces.

In remarks to reporters in Kabul this past weekend, Republican Senator Lindsay Graham reiterated concerns that the U.S. drawdown will send the wrong signal to the Afghan people about U.S. commitment.

"What I am mostly concerned about is that the accelerated withdrawal of surge forces has created a perception that we are leaving," said Senator Graham.

Asked about such concerns, Jay Carney said the administration believes it has addressed the issue, and the president feels strongly about progress made in stopping Taliban momentum, training Afghan forces, and disrupting, dismantling and ultimately defeating al-Qaida.

The president also met separately with Secretary Panetta, who as CIA director played a key role in the planning and intelligence gathering that led to the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in May.

As the White House talks took place on Tuesday, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan confirmed the latest battlefield deaths - four soldiers killed in separate attacks in the east of the country.

Two hundred eighty ISAF members have been killed so far this year.  As of Tuesday, U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan since 2001 stood at 1,542 since the U.S. invasion following the 2001 al-Qaida led terrorist attacks on the United States.

In an interview with news organizations in Kabul, General Petraeus said the focus of U.S. and NATO military efforts against Taliban forces in coming months will shift from the south of Afghanistan to the eastern border with Pakistan.

You May Like

Video VOA ‘Town Hall’ Shines Light on Ebola Crisis

Experts call for greater speed in identification and treatment of deadly disease More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week More

Funding Program Helps Extremely Poor in Ghana

Broad objective for Ghana's social cash transfer program is to lessen the impact of poverty on the most vulnerable people, elderly, orphans, those with disabilities 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.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid