News

US Commitment to Afghanistan Won't End With Military Mission

Top Pentagon officials say the U.S. commitment to Afghanistan will not end when the military campaign is over. They are also predicting U.S. President Barack Obama's decision to send 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan will inevitably increase the violence and casualties in the country.

Multimedia

Audio

Top Pentagon officials say the U.S. commitment to Afghanistan will not end when the military campaign is over.  They are also predicting U.S. President Barack Obama's decision to send 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan will inevitably increase the violence and casualties in the country. 

U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, Michele Flournoy, says President Obama's decision to send 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan in the next six months and then begin withdrawing them by July 2011 was made only after a lengthy district by district evaluation of the security situation in Afghanistan.

Flournoy says the withdrawal date is not arbitrary and Mr. Obama did not, as she put it, pull the timeline "out of a hat."

She says after the review the administration is convinced the situation in Afghanistan will improve sufficiently in the next 18 months for U.S. and NATO troops to begin transferring security to Afghan forces.

"The conclusion we reached based on that analysis is that July 2011 is a realistic date for us to plan to begin the process of transferring responsibility in some parts of the country," said Michele Flournoy. "We have very high confidence that by that date conditions will permit us to end the surge and begin a gradual and responsible drawdown of U.S. forces."

In addition to the 30,000 U.S. soldiers, other countries have pledged to send another 7,000 troops to Afghanistan.

Flournoy told a conference at the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute she hopes all the new troops will be deployed in the next six or seven months.

Flournoy says even when the military operation is complete, the U.S. commitment to Afghanistan will remain strong.

"We have insured our Afghan partners that our engagement and our assistance will be enduring," she said. "We will not walk away from Afghanistan when the military mission ends.

The Pentagon announced Monday that about 1,500 U.S. Marines are expected to arrive in Afghanistan later this month, the initial elements of the 30,000 troop surge authorized by President Obama last week.

Brigadier General John Nicholson, a specialist in counterinsurgency who just returned from leading troops in southern Afghanistan, says the new forces will be used to protect the civilian population from the Taliban.

"When we look at counterinsurgency the first and critical step is to separate the enemy from the people," said General Nicholson. "In order to do that in some of these critical districts, we lack sufficient ANSF, Afghan National Security Force capacity.  Therefore, we need coalition forces as a bridge to enable the separation to occur."

Nicholson says as new troops are sent to southern and eastern Afghanistan the fighting will intensify. 

"We are going to clear districts that currently have a heavy enemy presence and it is going to increase the violence and sadly that will increase the casualties," he said.

President Obama says the decision to send the reinforcements is designed, in part, to seize the initiative from the Taliban, which has been gaining ground in recent years. 
 

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Wini
X
July 28, 2015 12:21 AM
The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Obama Encourages Kenya to Fix Cultures of Corruption, Discrimination

President Barack Obama bid farewell to Kenya Sunday with a major speech at as stadium outside the capital Nairobi where he called on Kenyans to change the cultures of corruption and discrimination that can hold society back. VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video California Towns Welcome Special Olympics Athletes

Cities and towns in Southern California are greeting thousands of athletes who are arriving for Special Olympics, a competition for people with intellectual disabilities. The games will run from July 25th through August 2nd. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, where athletes from Namibia, Singapore and Tanzania got a rousing welcome from local residents.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.
Video

Video Hoverbike Flying Toward Reality

Another long-standing dream of many technological inventors is quickly approaching reality: U.S.- and British-based firms are cooperating in the development of an individual flying platform they call a hoverbike. They say it may revolutionize the concept of flying, including in the U.S. military. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video As Japan Expands Defense Role, Protests Follow

The Japanese government is moving forward with a controversial security bill that would authorize the military to fight abroad for the first time since World War II. Leaders say it is critical to defend against rising threats from China and North Korea. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Japan on the big changes ahead, and the opposition they are drawing.
Video

Video Replacing Poppies with Coffee in Myanmar

The remote mountains of Myanmar’s Shan state are home to the second-largest opium-producing region in the world. After a drop during the 2000s, production surged in the past eight years to feed an increasing demand for heroin in China. But farmers are now making less on the crop, and the U.N. is hoping many will make the switch to growing coffee. Daniel de Carteret reports for VOA from Taunggyi.

VOA Blogs