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

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, No voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve and do not want to take a risk by endorsing independence More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country 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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid