News / USA

    US Commander Urges Patience With Afghanistan

    General Joseph Dunford, Commander of U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan, testifies on Capitol Hill, March 12, 2014.
    General Joseph Dunford, Commander of U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan, testifies on Capitol Hill, March 12, 2014.
    Michael Bowman
    The commander of U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan says maintaining a residual military presence in the country is desirable and feasible even if Kabul continues to delay signing a bilateral security agreement with the United States.

    Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, General Joseph Dunford revealed sharp differences among lawmakers on the wisdom of continued U.S. military investment in the country.

    “If we leave at the end of 2014, the Afghan security forces will begin to deteriorate, the security environments will begin to deteriorate, and I think the only debate is the pace of that deterioration,” Dunford said, adding that Afghan militants and terrorists would be strengthened by a complete withdrawal and might once again threaten the United States

    Less than a month after President Barack Obama ordered the Pentagon to prepare for total withdrawal of U.S. forces by year’s end, the man tasked with carrying out the order said a complete departure would be costly, essentially surrendering more than a decade of hard-fought coalition gains.

    The Obama administration has long maintained that a continued residual force will only be possible if Afghanistan signs a bilateral security agreement, or BSA, with the United States. President Hamid Karzai has refused to do so, but many presidential candidates vying to succeed Karzai later this year say they would sign it.

    General Dunford says America can wait.

    “If we have a new [Afghan] president by August, I am comfortable that we will be able to maintain [U.S. military] options through that period of time without any difficulty,” he said.

    Opinions about what has been gained from America’s longest war vary widely on the committee. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) said the effort in Afghanistan “makes no sense to anyone at all” in his home state.

    “Are we to tell the American people that we have to maintain a constant presence [in Afghanistan] from now to perpetuity?" he said. "If you cannot do the job in 10, 12 [or] 13 years, you are not going to get the job done.”

    Committee chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.), said Americans are largely unaware of the coalition accomplishments in Afghanistan that would be squandered by a hasty withdrawal.

    “During last summer’s fighting season, Afghan forces prevented the Taliban from seizing control of any urban center or district center," he said. "More than 8 million Afghan children are now in school, eight times as many as in 2001; maternal and infant mortality have declined dramatically; the average Afghan has a life expectancy now of 62 years compared to 45 under the Taliban.”

    Levin also noted a recent poll showing only a tiny fraction of Afghans favor a return to power by the Taliban.

    You May Like

    Vietnam Mulls Tough Measures for ‘Misbehaving’ Chinese Tourists

    Move comes after footage surfaced online of Chinese travelers harassing a banana hawker in Da Nang

    Pakistan Social Media Star's Honor Killing Fuels Debate

    Qandeel Baloch's murder puts spotlight on deadly tradition and other mistreatment of women

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Not Again from: Canada
    March 13, 2014 1:53 AM
    Unrealistic and overly optimistic thinking/view, on Afghanistan. The reality is- 1. Western Forces (WF) face a hostile gvmt; -2. WF with 80,000 members did not achieve security and safety, beyond highly fortified positions in a few main cities, it took 12 yrs; -3. Heroin related crops/traffic is the highest it has ever been, after 12 yrs it has not been rolled back; -4 Heroin drug addiction, is the higest it has ever been ~1 million people are addicted; -5. governance accounting/ corruption no change; -6. Un-employment situation very high; -7. Women's rights are continued to be rolled back; -8. Peace commission, number of women small token, not the 30% target; -9. number of girls in rural schools nearing zero... and on and on, all negative trends. The force proposed to be left behind, will in fact have trouble protecting itself. Leaving WF will probably, at best, result in an insignificant change, and for certain more Western casualties, of valiant soldiers, for no realistic game change in outcome, a high cost to pay for no gain. If Karzai's chronies are re-elected, the BSA will not be signed, containing the expected terms. After 12 yrs, the Afghan people need to take full ownership of their future. Not a good plan!

    by: McArthur from: PN
    March 12, 2014 4:34 PM
    Patience? PATIENCE? It's already the longest engagement in US military history and we have nuts to show for it.

    It's easy to spend someone else's money and squander someone's elses lives.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Borderi
    X
    July 22, 2016 12:30 AM
    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.
    Video

    Video Number of Syrian Refugees Arriving in US Jumps

    The United States is committed to resettling 85,000 refugees from around the world by October. Of that number, 10,000 will come from Syria and already some 4,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in the United States, many of them settling in the state of Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from Chicago, their arrival is not the end of a difficult journey to find peace and stability.
    Video

    Video Rio’s Trams Await Olympic Tourists

    Over the past century, many cities around the world replaced electric trams, prone to breakdowns and backups, with faster and more spacious buses. But for some reason restored antique trams are a huge tourist attraction. So it’s no wonder the authorities in Rio de Janeiro are busy restoring their city’s old tram line ahead of the Summer Olympic Games. VOA’ George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora