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

    Russia's Expat Community Shrinking

    Russia's troubled economy, tensions with West have led hundreds of thousands of foreigners to leave for better opportunities

    Accelerating the Push Against Islamic State: What Will Work?

    Experts stress need to step up military action, address root causes of Muslims' disaffection, counter IS social media messages in a massive way

    Experts: N. Korean Abductions Sought to Halt Brain Drain

    Pyongyang abducted about 3,800 South Koreans and more than a dozen Japanese nationals in late 1970s

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees with Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees with Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.