News / Asia

Pentagon: US, Afghanistan Reach 'Last Chapter' in War

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai (R) walks alongside U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta (L) on a guided tour of the Pentagon Memorial, in memory of the victims of the September 11 attack, at the Pentagon, January 10, 2013.
Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai (R) walks alongside U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta (L) on a guided tour of the Pentagon Memorial, in memory of the victims of the September 11 attack, at the Pentagon, January 10, 2013.
VOA News
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has hailed what he calls "the last chapter" of a struggle to ensure that Afghanistan can govern itself and avoid reverting to a safe haven for terrorists.
 
He made those remarks at the start of his meeting Thursday with Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the Pentagon, as the Obama administration determines the U.S. military future in Afghanistan.
 
Panetta said more than 10 years of war have paved the way for Afghanistan to stand on its own.
 
Karzai expressed appreciation for the years of support from the U.S. and Afghanistan's other allies. 
 
The Afghan president is scheduled to meet later Thursday with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington, before joining her for a working dinner.
 
On Friday, Karzai will hold talks with U.S. President Barack Obama.  The two leaders are expected to discuss security issues, namely how many U.S. troops may be stationed in Afghanistan after the majority pull out in 2014, and under what conditions.
 
Current plans call for the United States to withdraw nearly all of its 68,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
 
But that plan hinges on a number of conditions, including whether Afghan forces will be able to take over security at that time.  It is also not clear what will be the role of the Americans who stay behind, if any do remain.
 
Some analysts believe the Taliban may be plotting a comeback and is just waiting for U.S. and other Western forces to leave. 
 
Retired U.S. Army Colonel Thomas Lynch, one of the authors of a new book about Afghanistan and its future called Talibanistan, says plans for a U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan may be premature.
 
"I personally believe that the dynamics in Afghanistan and the dynamics in the region right now are not well-suited for a precipitous or complete withdrawal of American or Western forces," he said. "I think the Afghan national army and its security forces still need a lot of assistance -- logistical training and some operational. I think there still needs to be partnership with Afghan counterterrorist units and American and Western counterterrorist units." 
 
Another contributor to Talibanistan, Brian Fishman, a counterterrorism expert with the New America foundation, sees a gloomy and dangerous future for the Afghans if the United States leaves.
 
"I am quite pessimistic about the Afghan government. And I don't think what we will see is the Taliban rushing with armored columns back into Kabul. But I do think that civil war in Afghanistan is a real possibility in the years after an American withdrawal, particularly if the money stops flowing the way that it did after the Soviets left," he said. 
 
While President Karzai has often criticized U.S. actions in Afghanistan, he also has spoken about his desire for some U.S. presence to remain.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
January 10, 2013 5:42 PM
Afghanistan has had at least 8 years of getting its security apparatus up to speed. Another 8 yrs, will not make much difference, for as long as the strategy is to deal with the civil war. Civil wars are very difficult to stop by foreign powers/forces. It is quite clear, that even the Afghan forces and govt have become less and less tolerant of Western forces. Statements made by Mr. Karzai, to his media, which most of the time do not support Western forces, just add to the growing anger, by the people, against the Western presence. And blue on blue deliberate killings, just do not benefit anyone. For the civil war counter strategy to succeed, Western forces would need to enter into Pakistan, another hornets nest, with no honey. Essentially, Western forces would need to operate over the entire Pashtun homeland, and even then, changing the outcome of the civil war would be very difficult, with not a great chance of success; frankly the effort is not worth it. To win in Afghanistan, you also need to win in Pakistan, a different approach would be needed, much like the strategy used to end the war in Japan, with all the human tragedy and unfortunate moral consequences, and what would be gained to make the approach worth it? nothing, but a bunch of empty hills. The time is ripe, for the Afghan forces to start working on their own. Just look at the outcome, of trying to quell a civil war in Iraq.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs