News / Asia

    Pentagon Warns of Confidence Problem in Afghanistan

    Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey (r) accompanied by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon, Dec. 4, 2013.
    Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey (r) accompanied by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon, Dec. 4, 2013.
    Luis Ramirez
    Top U.S. Defense Department officials say the Afghan government's hesitance to approve a bilateral security agreement undermines the resolve of allies and erodes the confidence of Afghan security forces.

    Most international troops are set to pull out of Afghanistan at the end of next year after what will be a 13-year presence in the country.

    U.S. officials say time is running short for them to start planning whether to leave behind a residual force they believe is crucial to preventing Taliban militants from retaking power.

    Those plans are being delayed by the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who wants to wait until next year before deciding whether to sign a bilateral security agreement that would lay out the terms under which the foreign troops could stay.  

    At a briefing with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel Wednesday, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Martin Dempsey said waiting too long undermines the resolve of allies that are considering leaving troops in place.

    “We will see an erosion of the coalition, and by the way the other thing we'll see is an erosion of confidence by the Afghan security forces, as they begin to be anxious about whether we're going to be there to support them.  So, it really needs to be done now, mostly because what's hanging in the balance in Afghanistan is confidence," said Dempsey.

    The United States is considering leaving as many as 12,000 troops to train, advise, and assist Afghan security forces.  

    The U.S. and NATO are pressuring the Karzai government to approve the security agreement quickly.  Washington has warned Afghan officials that it could withdraw all troops at the end of next year - as it did from Iraq in 2011.

    General Dempsey said the option of no U.S. troops in Afghanistan could become real.

    “I have not been told to plan for a zero option, but clearly I understand that it is a possibility given the current impasse," he said.

    U.S. officials had expected Karzai to approve the deal after Afghan tribal elders endorsed it at a meeting last month.  The Afghan leader, however, has hesitated, saying he may not sign the accord until after elections are held in April to determine who will be his successor.

    You May Like

    Video Twists and Turns Aplenty in US Presidential Race

    Even as Americans pause for this week’s Memorial Day holiday, much attention is focused on the presidential contest

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora