News / USA

    Senate Expected to Swiftly Confirm US General for Afghan War

    A Senate panel is questioning four-star General David Petraeus, who has been nominated to take over command of around 140,000 U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan.

    General Petraeus is considered one of the most respected and reliable soldiers in the U.S. military. Credited with helping to turn around the war in Iraq, General Petraeus has been asked by President Barack Obama to do the same thing in Afghanistan.

    Petraeus is being questioned by members of the Senate Armed Services Committee about the counterinsurgency strategy he championed in Iraq, and how effectively it can be applied in South Asia. The approach emphasizes protecting the local population and in Iraq it helped achieve dramatic results. Following the change there, a powerful Shi'ite militia gave up its weapons and Sunni insurgents switched sides to support the U.S. fight against al-Qaida.

    IHS Janes Security Analysis group analyst Jeremy Binnie predicts that it is less likely that troops in Afghanistan will be able to encourage lower-level militants to lay down their arms.

    "You have to negotiate from a position of strength," said Binnie. So for as long as, especially the more we talk about withdrawal, the more we talk about changing strategy, the more that sort of empowers the Taliban and they think they're going to win and no one's going to switch sides."

    Binnie also points out that the Obama's counterinsurgency strategy faces far greater challenges in Afghanistan than in Iraq because the Kabul government is plagued by corruption.

    "There's a widespread perception that the Afghan government isn't really effective enough. And ultimately, the question is if the plan is to hand over the Afghans, can that government in Kabul actually run the show? And a lot of people are pretty doubtful about that," said Binnie.

    Lawmakers say Petraeus undoubtedly will be confirmed for the post because of his record of success. If that happens, he would replace General Stanley McChrystal, who resigned last week over disparaging remarks he and his aides made about President Obama and his staff.

    Both McChrystal and Petraeus endorsed Mr. Obama's plan to deploy 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan to reign in the insurgency. Congress has supported the plan, but Democratic lawmakers weary after nine years of war say they want to see progress by the end of the year. They also are looking for Petraeus to assure them that U.S. troops will begin withdrawing from Afghanistan in July 2011, as Mr. Obama has pledged.

    In Kabul, NATO spokesman Brigadier Josef Blotz said the political drama has not, and will not, affect the security operations in Afghanistan.

    "Regarding the mood of our troops and the pace of operations there is absolutely no change whatsoever. Our troops understand they must continue partnering with the Afghan national security forces to push the fight in the south, that there is no pause in our efforts to protect the Afghan people," said Blotz.

    But a new report is casting doubt on U.S. efforts to partner with Afghan forces to improve security. A U.S. special inspector general report says the capability of many Afghan security forces has been overestimated for the past five years because the United States has relied on a faulty rating system.

    You May Like

    S. African Farmer Goes From 'Voice in the Wilderness' to Sought-After Expert

    Margarest Roberts has authored more than 40 books on subjects like organic farming, urban agriculture, herbs and ‘superfoods'

    Millennial Men Prefer Bucks Over Beauty

    U.S. men aged 18 to 34 say the finances of a potential significant other are more important than her looks

    Multimedia Lebanese Clown Troupe Marks Valentine's Day Amid Stink

    Activists resort to unusual approaches to raise public awareness of country’s ongoing trash crisis

    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.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.