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

Report: $60 Billion Leaves Africa Illegally Each Year

Report by a joint UN and African Union panel says African countries need to take concrete measures to stop billions of dollars from illegally being moved out of continent each year More

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Some analysts say Russian Tu-95 bombers were flying near British airspace to warn Britain about an inquest into a murdered Russian spy More

Mugabe Defends Image Amid Controversy at Close of AU Summit

He rejects concerns about how the West might perceive his leadership, saying he's focused on African development 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.
Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relationsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
January 31, 2015 10:50 PM
Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Neighborhood Divided Over Conflict

People in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk districts find themselves squarely in the path of advancing Russian-backed rebels, who want to take back the territory they held at the beginning of the conflict last year. Many local residents are afraid, but others would welcome the change, even when a rebel shell lands in their neighborhood. From the Luhansk district, 15 kilometers from where the Ukrainian government marks the front line, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky 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