News / USA

Obama Announces Afghanistan Troop Drawdown

US Army soldiers from Charlie company 4th platoon,1st brigade 3-21 infantry, jump over a wall during a patrol in the village of Chariagen in the Panjwai district of Kandahar province southern Afghanistan . President Barack Obama unveiled his plan to start
US Army soldiers from Charlie company 4th platoon,1st brigade 3-21 infantry, jump over a wall during a patrol in the village of Chariagen in the Panjwai district of Kandahar province southern Afghanistan . President Barack Obama unveiled his plan to start

Wednesday night at the White House, President Barack Obama announced the phased withdrawal of 10,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year, with a target of removing the rest of a 33,000 surge force by next year.

There are now some 100,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan fighting a war that is nearly 10 years old.

The president said it is time to bring some of them home.  He cited the strengthened position of U.S. and NATO forces and momentum achieved against the Taliban.

Pressuring al-Qaida

At the same time, Obama said al-Qaida in Pakistan is under more pressure than at any time since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, including the loss of its leader Osama bin Laden.

"Starting next month, we will be able to remove 10,000 of our troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year, and we will bring home a total of 33,000 troops by next summer, fully recovering the surge I announced at West Point. After this initial reduction, our troops will continue coming home at a steady pace as Afghan Security forces move into the lead," Obama explained.

Obama said Afghan forces have already assumed security responsibility in some areas.  

He reiterated that the Taliban, now in talks with the government, must break ties with al-Qaida, abandon violence and abide by the Afghan Constitution.

Responsibility

Obama called the objective of an Afghanistan that is not an al-Qaida safe haven achievable, but he said the Afghan people must ultimately secure their own nation.

"We will not try to make Afghanistan a perfect place. We will not police its streets or patrol its mountains indefinitely. That is the responsibility of the Afghan government, which must step up its ability to protect its people; and move from an economy shaped by war to one that can sustain a lasting peace,” Obama said.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen offered quick praise of the president's announcement and the efforts of U.S. and other NATO forces in Afghanistan.

"The tide is turning. The Taliban are under pressure. The Afghan security forces are getting stronger every day," said Rasmussen.

Mixed reaction

Here in Washington, reaction is mixed, with some lawmakers criticizing the president for withdrawing too many troops and others calling for a larger reduction of troops.

VOA Senior News Analyst Gary Thomas says Obama’s decision needed to achieve two main objectives.

"The president needed a troop drawdown that was not going to be seen as pulling the rug out from under President Karzai, but still enough military pressure on the Taliban that they will come to the table," Thomas said.

Middle ground

Obama addressed the rising sentiment in the United States against the Afghan war amid a difficult economic recovery. But he urged a middle ground between isolationist tendencies and over-extending abroad.

"We must chart a more centered course.  Like generations before, we must embrace America’s singular role in the course of human events.  But we must be as pragmatic as we are passionate; as strategic as we are resolute," stated Obama.

That resolve, the president said, will allow Afghan forces to take over full security of their country by 2014. The president said he will host a NATO summit in Chicago next May to discuss the road to that transfer.

Watch the full speech:

You May Like

Photogallery Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had earlier warned storm could be one of worst the city has ever faced More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites 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.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid