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

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid