News / Asia

Obama Cuts US 'Surge' Troops in Afghanistan

President Barack Obama announces his plan to begin withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan from the East Room of the White House on June 22, 2011.
President Barack Obama announces his plan to begin withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan from the East Room of the White House on June 22, 2011.
Kent Klein

President Barack Obama plans to withdraw one-third of U.S. forces from Afghanistan by late 2012.  The president said Wednesday the recent increase in troop strength is meeting its goals.

Watch VOA coverage of President Obama's speech

President Obama told a nationwide television audience he is beginning the effort to wind down one of America’s longest wars. “America, it is time to focus on nation-building here at home," he said.

Mr. Obama said the 100,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan have caused extensive damage to the al-Qaida terror network, which conducted deadly attacks on New York and Washington in 2001.

VOA News Analysts Comment on President Obama's Afghan Speech

Because of the recent gains, the president announced that one-third of those troops will leave Afghanistan by late next year. “Starting next month, we will be able to remove 10,000 of our troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year, and we will bring home a total of 33,000 troops by next summer," he said.

Mr. Obama sent those 33,000 troops to Afghanistan late in 2009, to focus on al-Qaida, reverse the Taliban’s momentum and train Afghan security forces to defend their own country.

U.S. forces invaded Afghanistan weeks after the 9-11 attacks in 2001.  Recent public opinion polls show that many Americans are tired of the war, and want the Obama administration to focus instead on domestic concerns, such as the economy.

Afghan Map

Some members of Congress have been calling for an accelerated withdrawal.  But others contend that a quick pullout would compromise the progress that has been made in Afghanistan.  A similar debate is said to be taking place among the president’s top advisers.

Mr. Obama acknowledged the question Wednesday, saying U.S. policy must strike an appropriate balance. “Some would have America retreat from our responsibility as an anchor of global security, and embrace an isolation that ignores the very real threats that we face.  Others would have America over-extended, confronting every evil that can be found abroad.  We must chart a more centered course," he said.

From combat to support

The president said the U.S. mission in Afghanistan will change from combat to support, as Afghans assume responsibility for their nation’s security.  Mr. Obama said that transition will be complete by 2014.

He also announced that NATO will hold a summit in his home city of Chicago next May, to plan the next phase of Afghanistan’s transition.

Peace talks

In the meantime, Mr. Obama said the U.S. will support peace talks that include the Afghan government and the Taliban, and that there is reason to believe that progress can be made.

In addition, he said his administration will press Pakistan for greater cooperation in the fight against violent extemists.

Mr. Obama said his overall goal is to leave Afghanistan without a safe haven from which al-Qaida or its affiliates can attack the U.S. or its allies. “We will not try to make Afghanistan a perfect place.  We will not police its streets or patrol its mountains indefinitely," he said.

The president promised the American people that the long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq would come to what he called a responsible end.

Watch the full speech:

You May Like

Photogallery Kyiv: Russian Forces Tightening Grip on East

And new United Nations report documents human rights abuses committed by both sides in conflict More

Locust Swarms Fill Antananarivo Skies

FAO-led control efforts halted plague More

South Africa’s Plan to Move Rhinos May Not Stop Poaching

Experts say international coordination needed to follow the money trail and bring down rhino horn kingpins 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 Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Weeki
X
August 29, 2014 2:18 AM
The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid