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

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs