News / USA

Obama Visits Troops After Announcing Afghanistan Drawdown

President Barack Obama speaks to soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division in Fort Drum, N.Y, many of whom have just returned from Afghanistan, June 23, 2011
President Barack Obama speaks to soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division in Fort Drum, N.Y, many of whom have just returned from Afghanistan, June 23, 2011

Multimedia

A day after announcing the beginning of a U.S. troop drawdown in Afghanistan, President Barack Obama on Thursday visited soldiers and their families at Fort Drum, New York, home to one of the most frequently deployed units in the U.S. military.


Fort Drum is home to the 10th Mountain Division, which is has seen several deployments in Afghanistan as well as in Iraq, where U.S. forces have formally ended their combat role.  Members of the division have been among some of the most recent military deaths in combat operations in Afghanistan.

In 2009, President Obama posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the U.S. military's highest decoration for valor, to U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Jared Monti, a member of the Mountain Division, who was killed in Afghanistan.

Under President Obama's phased withdrawal plan, 10,000 soldiers will leave Afghanistan by the end of this year.   At what he calls "a steady pace," another 23,000 will leave by September of next year.

At Fort Drum, the president told soldiers they have always been in the "toughest fights" and that it is their commitment that made possible the progress seen in Afghanistan.

"The only reason I was able to make that decision was because I knew we had the finest fighting force in the world, and that if I gave a command to our troops, they would be able to accomplish that mission," said President Obama.

Referring to his speech on Wednesday, Mr. Obama said U.S. forces will be drawn down steadily, not precipitously, to ensure that gains will be sustained.

He said it was the work of the U.S. military that made possible the operation against terrorist leader Osama bin-Laden in Pakistan.

"It is also because of you that we had the platform to be able to go after bin Laden and al-Qaida," said Obama. "And we have decimated their ranks."

In an interview with VOA on Wednesday, President Obama discussed the withdrawals, progress made against the Taliban and the path forward to turning security responsibilities over to Afghan government forces.

"We’ll continue to transition as Afghan forces stand up, with the goal of completing this transition by 2014," said President Obama. "Beyond 2014, though, we want to make sure that we maintain the strong relationship with the Afghan people and the Afghan government.  We won’t have the same military presence, but what we hope on economic and development agendas that we’re going to continue to work with Afghans as we have."

At a hearing on Capitol Hill, lawmakers questioned outgoing Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman U.S. Navy Admiral Michael Mullen about President Obama's withdrawal plan.

Mullen responded to a question about the 2014 target date for the United States and NATO to transfer all security responsibilities in the country to Afghan forces.

"As much advise and assist as is necessary by that point, but what we have watched in terms of both the growth rate and learning rate, they are on a pretty good glide slope right now in terms of ascendance to be able to do this - the Afghan security forces," said Admiral Mullen.

Republican House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner urged the president to retain flexibility to alter the withdrawal plan based on conditions on the ground.

Boehner and the Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke to reporters on Capitol Hill.

Boehner: "I am generally supportive of the plan because there is enough flexibility in the withdrawal to take into consideration conditions on the ground."

Pelosi: "Many of us would like to see this go faster than the path that was laid out, however it may."

Some of the sharpest critics of the war in Afghanistan took to the floor of the House of Representatives on Thursday, calling the withdrawal plan insufficient.

You May Like

Mugabe Dismisses Male-Female Equality

'It is not possible that women can be at par with men' incoming African Union president declares on eve of summit More

Somali Terror Suspect's Light Sentence Raises Questions

Abdullahi Yusuf, 18, could have spent 15 years in prison but judge instead sentenced him to a halfway house, and a program to try to integrate him back into the community More

Video Kobani Ravaged Following Kurdish Ouster of IS Militants

Even so, hundreds of refugees sheltering in Turkey seek to return; Kurdish forces hold some back, saying fighting continues 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.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
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 Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

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 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 Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
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.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone 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