News / USA

Pakistan Eyes US Drawdown in Afghanistan

Soldiers watch a rebroadcast of President Barack Obama's speech on a proposed troop withdrawal at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, June 23, 2011
Soldiers watch a rebroadcast of President Barack Obama's speech on a proposed troop withdrawal at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, June 23, 2011

Multimedia

Audio

US President Barack Obama Wednesday announced a drawdown of U.S. forces from Afghanistan next month, with a grim warning to Pakistan: terrorist safe havens will not be tolerated.

In a nationally televised speech Wednesday, President Obama said the U.S. will withdraw 10,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year and another 23,000 over the next 14 months with security to be handed over entirely to Afghan forces by 2014.

He also gave credit to Pakistan's government, saying it has worked with the United States to eliminate over half the leadership of al-Qaida.

But Obama also said that the U.S. must address the problem of terrorist safe-havens in Pakistan, and to work with its government to root out what he called "the cancer of violent extremism."  The U.S., he said, will insist that Pakistan's government "keep its commitments."

Pakistani analyst Professor Hassan Askari of Punjab University says that President Obama's message of both praise and warning did not go unnoticed.

"There is a recognition that with the cooperation of Pakistan, al-Qaida has been weakened in the past," said Askari.  "So there is an appreciation. But along with the appreciation there is a word of caution for Pakistan that there are safe havens in Pakistan and the U.S. would press Pakistan for action and they would be working with Pakistan to make sure that these safe havens are no longer there."

What many Pakistanis were most encouraged by is President Obama's plan for a political solution that includes negotiations with the Afghan Taliban.

In a joint press conference with visiting British Foreign Minister William Hague in Islamabad, Pakistan's acting Foreign Minister Hanna Rabbani Khar said that what happens in Afghanistan will have a significant impact on Pakistan.

"Afghanistan is a country which is a sovereign country and an independent country," said Khar.  "And as neighbors, as important neighbors, as a neighbor who is going to be affected by both peace and stability and lack thereof in Afghanistan, Pakistan will stand by on any of these issues by whatever is an Afghan-owned solution, and whatever is an Afghan-led solution."

The Taliban have been pushed out of some areas of Afghanistan's southern heartland. But the insurgency has intensified along Afghanistan's eastern border with Pakistan, which was one of only three countries that recognized the Taliban-led government that ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.

The withdrawal of the U.S.-led NATO force from Afghanistan has regional implications, with some in the neighborhood, above all India, fearing that the influence of its neighbor and rival Pakistan could grow if the Taliban is able to regain power in Afghanistan. Pakistan, for its part, is unhappy over the degree to which India has gained influence in Afghanistan since the Taliban's ouster in 2001.

The leaders of India and Afghanistan have sought to play down these fears. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said during a visit to Afghanistan in May that his country supports the Afghan government's efforts to negotiate with the Taliban to bring an end to the almost 10-year-old war.

Earlier this month, Afghan President Hamid Karzai visited Pakistan and announced new measures aimed at improving security and ending the war in his country, including the creation of a joint Afghan-Pakistani Commission for Reconciliation and Peace in Afghanistan to negotiate with elements of the Afghan Taliban.

Pakistan's leadership, for its part, has indicated that ending the war next door will go a long way towards reducing instability in the region and perhaps help repair the damaged relationship between Islamabad and Washington.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Audio Top 5 Songs for Week Ending May 23

This week's lineup can be summed up like this: 'It's The Same Old Song' - but they're great songs - featuring Walk The Moon, The Weeknd, Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth 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.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs