News

    Top Afghan Officials Welcome Pact with US

    Kent Klein

    The partnership agreement signed by President Barack Obama and Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday is getting a generally positive reception from officials in Kabul. Some top Afghans are welcoming the long-term U.S. commitment to their country’s security.

    In announcing the agreement at Bagram Air Base, President Obama told Americans it marked the beginning of the end of the long U.S. military commitment in Afghanistan.

    “My fellow Americans, we have traveled through more than a decade under the dark cloud of war. Yet here, in the pre-dawn darkness of Afghanistan, we can see the light of a new day on the horizon,” he said.

    Some members of Afghanistan’s government are praising the agreement because, they say, it shows that the United States will not abandon their country.

    The Afghan parliament is expected to approve the proposal, possibly as early as next week.

    Parliament member Shukria Barekzai said she supports it. “It is very early to say that the parliament may pass [it] or not.  But for my point of view, as long as it is good for the country and good for the Afghan people, we would like to vote for it,” Barekzai said.

    Afghanistan's former ambassador to the United States, Said Tayeb Jawad, says the plan signals America's commitment to remain engaged in his country, and that the agreement is not a threat to Afghanistan's neighbors.

    “It in fact encourages the regional countries to contribute to the safety and security of Afghanistan.  At the same time, if the neighboring countries have ill intentions, they will understand the United States is there to stay,” Jawad said.

    The plan does not specify U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan.  But it gives Washington the option of keeping troops there for a decade after 2014, to train Afghan forces or for operations against al-Qaida.

    Some experts in Washington say that the war will not be winding down soon, and that U.S. special forces might need to stay in Afghanistan for years to come.

    A reminder of that came shortly after Mr. Obama’s plane left Bagram Air Base.  The Taliban set off a suicide car bomb at a foreigners' housing compound, and militants killed at least seven people.

    But Caroline Wadhams of the Washington-based Center for American Progress, told Alhurra Television that the agreement might help advance talks with the Taliban.

    "I think what it does is that this agreement, in a sense, strengthens the hand of the Afghan government in some kind of negotiation process that the U.S. hopes will occur with the insurgency.  It gives the Afghan government a stronger card to play in that process," Wadhams said.

    Another detail not included in the agreement is the amount of financial support the United States will give Afghanistan.  Officials in Washington say that will be decided by Congress.

    Former Afghan Ambassador Jawad says that after many months of negotiations, there was a desire to have an agreement in place before this month’s NATO summit in Chicago.

    “But they would like to see more commitment on the U.S. part as to the financial commitment Afghanistan will be receiving.  Therefore there was a push on the Afghan government to quantify the amount of assistance Afghanistan would be receiving,” Jawad said.

    Still, Jawad says, it is a positive agreement that will benefit Afghanistan and the region.

    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.
    New Chapter for Tunisia's Ennahdai
    X
    Lisa Schlein
    May 31, 2016 1:56 PM
    Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party says it is separating its religious and political activities in a broader bid to mark its so-called Muslim Democratic identity. The move appears to open a new chapter for a party that bounced back from the political wilderness of Tunisia’s pre-revolution days to become a key player in the North African country, and a member of the current coalition government. From Tunis, Lisa Bryant takes a look at how Tunisians are viewing its latest step.
    Video

    Video New Chapter for Tunisia's Ennahda

    Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party says it is separating its religious and political activities in a broader bid to mark its so-called Muslim Democratic identity. The move appears to open a new chapter for a party that bounced back from the political wilderness of Tunisia’s pre-revolution days to become a key player in the North African country, and a member of the current coalition government. From Tunis, Lisa Bryant takes a look at how Tunisians are viewing its latest step.
    Video

    Video New Mobile App Allows Dutch Muslims to Rate their Imams

    If a young Dutch-Moroccan app developer has his way, Muslims in the Netherlands will soon be able to rate their imams online. Mohamed Mouman says imams rarely get feedback from their followers. He believes his app can give prayer leaders a better picture of what's happening in their communities — and can also keep young people from being radicalized. Serginho Roosblad reports from Amsterdam.
    Video

    Video Moscow Condemns NATO Plans to Beef Up Defense in Eastern Europe, Baltics

    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday an upcoming "landmark summit" will enhance the alliance's defensive and deterrent presence in eastern Europe and the Baltics. He is visiting Poland ahead of the NATO Summit in Warsaw. Zlatica Hoke reports
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video F-35 Fighter Jet Draws Criticisms as Costs Mount

    America’s latest fighter plane, the F-35, has been mired in controversy. Critics cite cost, faulty design, and the attempt to use it to fill multiple roles. Even the pilot’s helmet is controversial. VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Concerns Over Civilian Suffering as Iraqi Forces Surround Fallujah

    Thousands of residents are trapped inside the IS-held city ahead of a full scale Iraqi offensive aimed at retaking it.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora