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

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network 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.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs