News / Asia

Petraeus Issues First Guidance to Allied Troops in Afghanistan

General David Petraeus
General David Petraeus

Multimedia

Audio

The U.S. and international commander in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, who took command a month ago, has issued his first guidance document for the nearly 150,000 troops under his command. He is emphasizing the need to provide security and good governance for the Afghan people.

In a three-and-a-half-page document, General Petraeus' first two guidance points order his forces to "secure and serve the population" and "live among the people."  His 24 points also include fighting corruption and abuse of power, which he says fuel the insurgency.  He also tells the troops to "pursue the enemy relentlessly," to "fight hard" and also "with discipline," and to consult local people and their leaders as they make plans.

The document makes many of the same points as the one issued a year ago by Petraeus' predecessor, General Stanley McChrystal, who was forced to resign in June after he and members of his staff were quoted criticizing senior Obama Administration officials.

Petraeus also is expected to issue a new tactical directive - probably this week - designed to clarify some of McChrystal's orders, particularly one that some troops have complained limits their ability to call in air strikes to protect themselves.  Senior officials say air strikes should be kept to a minimum to avoid civilian casualties, but Petraeus has already said troops must be allowed to defend themselves.

Speaking to a veterans' group Monday, President Barack Obama indicated the tactical directive will be well timed, as most of the additional forces he ordered to Afghanistan have arrived and operations are steadily increasing.

"Nearly all the additional forces that I ordered to Afghanistan are now in place," said the president.  "Along with our Afghan and international partners, we are going on the offensive against the Taliban, targeting their leaders, challenging them in regions where they had free rein, and training Afghan national security forces."

The president said the United States and its coalition and Afghan partners "will continue to face huge challenges in Afghanistan," but he said the new strategy he announced in December is generating progress toward what he called "achievable" goals.  

The key goals are to defeat al-Qaida and it supporters, including the Taliban, and to enable the Afghan government and security forces to keep the terrorists out in the future.  The president says he will begin to withdraw U.S. troops next July, but officials say the United States will maintain a substantial military and civilian commitment to Afghanistan for years after that.

The guidance document General Petraeus issued Sunday tells the troops they need to work closely with the Afghan forces, and with U.S. and international civilian agencies.  He also tells the troops it is important to gain the trust of the Afghan people by interacting with them and by communicating allied intentions, and the results of operations, quickly and accurately.  

He also endorses the Afghan government's somewhat controversial plan to reintegrate some low-level Taliban fighters into society, saying the foreign troops should work with local officials to identify which insurgents are "reconcilable," and which need to be pursued militarily.

According to the Pentagon, there are now 98,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan.  That is the target number for the enhanced force ordered by President Obama.  Officials say the number, however, reflects some overlap between newly arrived units and some that are preparing to rotate out of the country, and there still several thousand of the additional forces yet to deploy.  The Pentagon says there also are 49,000 troops from NATO and other international partner countries.


You May Like

Video Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers 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.
NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planeti
X
George Putic
March 04, 2015 8:51 PM
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More