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

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults 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.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid