News / Asia

    Top US Commander in Afghanistan to Face Lawmakers

    FILE - U.S. Army General John Campbell, commander of the Resolute Support Mission and United States Force - Afghanistan, testifies before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on "The Situation in Afghanistan" on Capitol Hill in Washington, Oct. 6, 2015.
    FILE - U.S. Army General John Campbell, commander of the Resolute Support Mission and United States Force - Afghanistan, testifies before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on "The Situation in Afghanistan" on Capitol Hill in Washington, Oct. 6, 2015.
    Associated Press

    The top American commander in Afghanistan faces skeptical lawmakers amid concerns that worsening security conditions demand a greater number of U.S. forces to ensure the gains made in the war-torn country since 2001 aren't lost.

    Army Gen. John Campbell is slated to testify on Tuesday before the House Armed Services Committee, where members are expected to press him on President Barack Obama's plan to cut American troop levels from 9,800 to 5,500 before he leaves office next January. Obama had backtracked from his initial plan to reduce the U.S. force to 1,000 by the end of 2016.

    Republicans have long assailed Obama's exit strategy, arguing that conditions on the ground in Afghanistan, not a calendar, should determine the pace of the withdrawal.

    Taliban offenses

    With the Taliban staging new offensives and the Islamic State extremist group seeking a presence in Afghanistan, congressional Democrats also are raising the prospect of an extended stay.

    "I've always believed that putting a time limit on it is a mistake," Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, the committee chairman, said Monday. "To say this is going to take five years, 10 years or 50 years, nobody can say that."

    Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., warned against a repeat of Iraq. American forces were withdrawn too rapidly and without a long-term political strategy to ensure the progress they made would hold, he said. U.S. troops had to return to Iraq after the resulting instability allowed IS to grow.

    "I've never been an advocate for withdrawing troops on a timetable," said Moulton, a former Marine Corps officer who served four tours in Iraq. "If security is worsening with the number of troops we have there now, then we shouldn't cut them below the current level."

    Campbell is expected to retire soon and Obama has nominated Army Lt. Gen. John W. "Mick" Nicholson, Jr., to replace him.

    Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., said last week that Congress "desperately" needs an unvarnished assessment of troop requirements even if the recommended number contradicts what Obama has proposed.

    "If it's 10,000 that's needed to be effective, then tell us it's 10. If it's (5,000), tell us it's 5," Donnelly said at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing held to consider Nicholson's nomination. "If we don't have enough there, it's just going to make it worse, and worse and worse."

    Campaign promise

    While campaigning for his second term, Obama promised the war in Afghanistan would end on his watch. At the end of 2014, the White House declared an end to combat operations there. Yet American forces and money remain committed as Afghan troops and police slowly take over the fighting.

    The mission of the U.S. troops in Afghanistan is to conduct counterterrorism operations and to train and assist the Afghan security forces. Nicholson assured the Senate Armed Services Committee that if confirmed, he will do a thorough review to make sure there are enough American forces to accomplish both assignments.

    Nicholson acknowledged, however, that security conditions are worsening in Afghanistan.

    The Afghans held their own in 2015 during combat against the insurgency, he said, but are still not self-sustaining. The U.S. continues to provide the bulk of the money to train and equip the Afghan military and police -- more than $4.1 billion was allotted in fiscal year 2015 alone to the Afghanistan Security Forces Fund, according to the Defense Department.

    "The Taliban came at the (Afghan forces) more intensely than perhaps we anticipated," Nicholson said. "Because of that, we did not make the advances we projected we thought we would make."

    Overall, the U.S. has committed $113 billion since 2002 for reconstruction projects in hopes of establishing a stable, functioning Afghan government. Yet, nearly 15 years later, Afghanistan still lacks the capacity to independently operate and maintain the hospitals, roads, power plants, and more built with all the money.

    You May Like

    Russian-speaking Muslim Exiles Fear Possible Russia-Turkey Thaw

    Exiled from Russia as Islamic radicals and extremists, thousands found asylum in Turkey

    US Presidential Election Ends at Conventions for Territorial Citizens

    Citizens of US territories like Guam or Puerto Rico enjoy participation in US political process but are denied right to vote for president

    UN Syria Envoy: 'Devil Is in the Details' of Russian Aleppo Proposal

    UN uncertain about the possible humanitarian impact of Russian proposal to establish escape corridors in Aleppo

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: SAIRAH from: LAHORE
    February 03, 2016 6:43 AM
    That shall be in the best interest of every one. Lawlessness increased in Pakistan , the investments that the Chinese have made in this country make me think that we have lost an independent state . Saudis must always know that they need a country like Pakistan for supports of all kinds. For Talibans - i think if you do not attend school - you should not think about Europe.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora