News

    US, Afghanistan Sign Draft of Strategic Partnership Agreement

    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at a news conference at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, April 18, 2012.
    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at a news conference at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, April 18, 2012.
    Meredith Buel

    The U.S. and Afghan governments have finalized the initial draft of a strategic partnership agreement. The deal insures American military and financial support for the Afghan people for at least a decade beyond 2014, the deadline for most foreign combat forces to withdraw.  

    U.S. troops and Afghan security forces have fought on the front lines together. They have worked together to build up the Afghan Army and police force. And billions of dollars have poured into the country to boost the economy.

    Now the new strategic partnership agreement shows Afghanistan the U.S. will not completely leave the country after 2014.

    “NATO and its partners cannot and will not abandon Afghanistan after 2014. Our ongoing support will be essential to preserving and building on the gains we’ve made thus far,” said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

    Western nations are negotiating how much to spend to support Afghan security forces following 2014. Analysts say whatever the cost, it will be far less than the more than $100 billion being spent this year.

    Lisa Curtis is a South Asia specialist at The Heritage Foundation.

    “Providing say two to three billion [dollars] to sustain Afghan security forces after 2014 seems like a pretty good bargain to ensure the U.S. is not attacked again - that we don’t have another type of 9/11 attack on the U.S. homeland,” she said.
    U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher, a strong critic of the Afghan government, was recently banned from traveling to Kabul by President Hamid Karzai. Rohrabacher said the strategic partnership agreement is an admission that a decade of nation-building has not worked.

    “One of the reasons we are in bad shape and have lost so many people already, is we have imported combat troops to try to force local people to accept Kabul as the legitimate power. And Kabul, of course, is run by a corrupt regime under Karzai,” said Rohrabacher.

    But U.S. military officials say they will need to stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014 to train local security forces. Major General John Toolan has spent the past year commanding troops in Afghanistan.

    “They will have to be in Afghanistan as long as it takes for the Afghan security forces to establish, particularly the police and I’ll say specifically the police, to establish local security and credibility among the population,” said Toolan.

    Earlier, officials signed agreements on the thorny issues of night raids by U.S. troops and the handover of detention facilities to Afghan authorities.

    Analysts say the strategic partnership sends a strong message to Pakistan and the Taliban that Americans will not abandon the region as they did in the 1990s after the Soviets were pushed out of the country.

    “I think what this agreement shows is that the U.S. is not desperate for a peace deal with the Taliban. Yes, certainly, some kind of settlement that involves the Taliban is desirable, but the U.S. is simply not desperate to reach some type of agreement in the next two years,” said Curtis of the Heritage Foundation.

    A post-2014 military force could provide training, air power, intelligence sharing and counter-terrorism operations in partnership with Afghan soldiers.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Soho
    May 03, 2012 7:54 PM
    Pakistan has been our ally for it's entire existence - FACT. It is the ONLY country in that region that has provided us with material and logistical support every time we've needed it at great political & strategic expense: Vietnam war, Cold war, Russian AND our invasion of Afghanistan. Pakistan has lost over 3,000 soldiers and over 30,000 civilians to extremist attacks and all we can do is point fingers at that country for our own foreign policy failures? Shame on us.

    by: Abid
    April 28, 2012 9:16 AM
    US Govt & CIA r the real responsible for Chaos in the whole world. It was the USA who used atom bomb in Japan. Having the worlds largest number of Nuclear Weapon still vows other nations not to keep WMD. Responsible for Genocides in Vetnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, USA is still the Champion of Human Rights, The Honor of Horrifying Tortures at Guantanao Bay jail the world have ever seen also goes to United States of America but the Nation has been kept deprived of the real picture.

    by: saiferahman
    April 27, 2012 6:31 PM
    USA is the enemy of al-queda and every where these insurgent groups treated the usa interest so fight against these groups and support afghan government and the peaple of Afghanistan is a key element toward al-queda

    by: Sam
    April 27, 2012 6:21 PM
    We can not leave Afghanistan. We have to rebuild their army before we leave. This is for our security. Pakistan is the real problem and center of terrorism and Alqaeda. Our troops die in Afghanistan because of Pakistani ISI not because of Afghans

    by: Dale
    April 27, 2012 4:55 PM
    Hell, If the United States is going to take care of the whole world I think that we should at least take the natural resources of those countries and claim them as our own. If it takes us ten years to bring that country up to date, we will take the natural resources in payment for services rendered. I am really getting tired of paying taxes only to have them go overseas to other countries that benefit from them while they kill our young troops and boldly state that they hate us.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora