News

    Gen. Allen: Afghan Mission 'On Track' Despite Violence

    Marine Gen. John Allen, the top US commander in Afghanistan testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington March 20, 2012
    Marine Gen. John Allen, the top US commander in Afghanistan testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington March 20, 2012
    Cindy Saine

    The top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, U.S. Marine Corps General John Allen, says coalition forces remain on track to deny al-Qaida safe haven in the country, despite recent setbacks.

    Allen testified Tuesday before the House Armed Services Committee panel, whose lawmakers disagree over the pace of America's troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

    Related video by Luis Ramirez:

    It was Allen's first appearance before the panel since a U.S. soldier allegedly shot and killed 16 Afghan villagers on March 11. Allen's testimony also follows violent protests that erupted last month after the inadvertent burning of Korans at a U.S. air base. The U.S. commander told lawmakers that 32 Afghans were killed in those riots.

    Allen said that in any counter-insurgency situation, there will be successes and setbacks - often at the same time and in the same space. But he said that ties between coalition forces and Afghan national forces remain strong.

    "I believe the campaign is on track," said Allen. "We are making a difference. I know this and our troops know this."

    Allen said morale among U.S. forces is high, despite what he called several recent "heart-wrenching" events.

    "These troops are focused on a mission," he said. "Ten years into this conflict, they are as professional as we have ever seen."

    The committee's chairman, Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, a California Republican, called the incident in which a U.S. Army staff sergeant allegedly took up arms against Afghan civilians last week an isolated and criminal act that should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. But, he said, this and other events are not representative of the commitment of U.S. forces.

    "These exceptional incidents are not reflective of the hundreds of thousands of U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who have served honorably in Afghanistan," said McKeon. "Nor are they reflective of the many thousands of Afghan soldiers who are being trained and are helping to secure Afghanistan today."

    McKeon said he is troubled by President Barack Obama's decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan, saying it might interfere with the president's own strategy.

    The top Democrat on the committee, Rep. Adam Smith of Washington state, said the point of the president's strategy is to transfer the responsibility of providing security from coalition forces to Afghan national forces.

    "We simply cannot say, 'Well, we are never going to leave, we are going to stay because we are fearful, because if people think we are going to leave, that, therefore, gives them an advantage,'" said Smith. "The truth is it also gives them an advantage, if we leave in the minds of the Afghan people that we are never going to leave."

    Smith said that Americans want to see U.S. troops come home, and that they want Afghans to be in charge of their own security and their own government.

    General Allen's testimony comes at a time when several lawmakers - Republicans and Democrats - increasingly say that the financial and human costs of the long war in Afghanistan are too high.

    White House spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday that he cannot provide any numbers on the pace of the U.S. pullout. Carney said although Afghanistan would be a topic of intense discussion at next month's NATO summit in Chicago, people should not expect a new announcement about troop withdrawals.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Ricardo C
    March 21, 2012 9:55 AM
    war is not easy no one understand until you go to war. And everyone need to understand that bad things happens in war.

    by: MJSchad
    March 20, 2012 7:21 PM
    General Allen is a liar. Things are not progressing in Afghanistan. For him to say such things indicates he is only looking out for his own interests, or being instructed what to say.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    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 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 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.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora