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

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

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.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid