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

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani 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.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid