News / USA

Obama to Announce Afghan Withdrawal Plans Wednesday

US troops in Afghanistan in 2011
US troops in Afghanistan in 2011

Multimedia

TEXT SIZE - +

The White House says President Barack Obama will announce his decision on the size and pace of a U.S. troop drawdown in Afghanistan on Wednesday.  It will come amid intensified national war-weariness and concern about the lives lost, and strains on the U.S. economy.

At Arlington National Cemetery this past Memorial Day, President Obama, after laying a wreath at the Tomb of Unknowns, stopped at Section 60, containing graves of U.S. troops killed most recently in Afghanistan and Iraq.

It was a reminder of the grim backdrop to the decision on how many of the 100,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan to begin withdrawing in July.


Mr. Obama announced the July start for the withdrawal when he presented his overall strategy for Afghanistan in December 2009.

Even as the president and military commanders point to successes in pushing back Taliban control in key areas, military commanders are worried about climbing casualty figures.

Like other presidents who have directed unpopular wars, Mr. Obama has has no shortage of advice from members of Congress.

Democrat John Kerry, who heads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said, "While the United States has genuine national security interests in Afghanistan, our current commitment, in troops and in dollars, is neither proportional to our interests or sustainable in my judgment."

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham last week called the current U.S. and NATO model in Afghanistan "the ticket home" for U.S. troops.

Appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press" program, he cautioned against any accelerated U.S. withdrawal despite rising anti-war sentiment in the U.S. Congress. "If we accelerate withdrawal right now because we are war weary, we're going to lose this war," he said.

Another Republican, Senator Richard Lugar, urges Mr. Obama to provide Americans with a new overall plan that includes a definition of success. "The more important question is whether we have an efficient strategy for protecting our vital interests that does not involve massive open-ended expenditures and does not require us to have more faith than is justified in Afghan institutions," he said.

President Obama's decision comes amid intensifying public dissatisfaction with the Afghanistan war.

In Baltimore, Maryland, the U.S. Conference of Mayors approved a resolution urging that billions in monthly war costs be directed to needs at home.

At the Pentagon recently, outgoing Secretary of Defense Robert Gates addressed the question of Americans' impatience. "This unhappiness, and certainly the war weariness after a decade, rests heavily on all of us, I think. And the key is how do we complete our mission, as we have largely done in Iraq, in a way that protects American national security interests and the American people and contributes to stability," he said.

Besides incoming defense secretary Leon Panetta, civilian and military leaders who will implement President Obama's decision are to be in place soon.

They include Marine Lieutenant General John Allen, the new U.S. commander in Afghanistan, along with Ryan Crocker, the new U.S. ambassador in Kabul.

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Resigns

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid