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

Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving

Feasts centering on turkeys with an array of traditional sides and desserts are part of the holiday's traditions, which falls on the fourth Thursday in November More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid