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 Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons 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

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.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
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.

All About America

AppleAndroid