News / USA

    US Defends Progress in Afghanistan

    Incoming Lieutenant General Curtis M. Scaparrotti speaks during a change of command ceremony in Kabul. (File Photo - July 11, 2011)
    Incoming Lieutenant General Curtis M. Scaparrotti speaks during a change of command ceremony in Kabul. (File Photo - July 11, 2011)
    Luis Ramirez

    One of the top U.S. commanders in Afghanistan is defending the progress coalition troops are making in Afghanistan, after a U.S. Lieutenant Colonel publicly countered U.S. assertions the allied campaign is succeeding against Taliban insurgents.

    Real picture

    The criticism has come from U.S. Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Davis in an essay he wrote called Truth, Lies and Afghanistan: How Military Leaders Have Let Us Down, which appeared in the Armed Forces Journal - an independent publication on military affairs.

    In it, Davis says his experiences in Afghanistan bore - in his words, "no resemblance to rosy official statements by U.S. military leaders about conditions on the ground."  He said he witnessed the absence of success at every level.  

    U.S. officials say they have made significant progress against Taliban insurgents during the past year, and that well more than half of Afghanistan’s territory is under the control of Afghan security forces.

    Opinions

    At a Pentagon briefing Wednesday, the U.S. military’s number-two commander in Afghanistan Lieutenant General Curtis Scaparrotti answered Davis’ criticism, saying it was only one person’s opinion of the general situation.

    “I am confident, in my personal view, that our outlook is accurate,” he said.

    Scaparrotti says he does not doubt some of what Davis wrote, and he believes U.S. forces have work to do in training Afghan forces.

    “These soldiers will fight, particularly at the company level," he said. "There is no question about that. They are going to be good enough as we build them to secure their country and to counter the insurgency that they are dealing with now. Will they be at the standard that we have for our soldiers? No. Not at least the conventional forces.”

    Transition

    Last week, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said U.S. forces would transition next year from a combat role to training Afghan soldiers and police. His remarks triggered criticism from some U.S. lawmakers who question whether Afghanistan is secure enough to begin that transition.

    U.S. officials say Panetta’s statements did not deviate from previously set plans for a drawdown. They have faced further questions after the United nations reported last week that the number of civilian deaths in 2011 was the highest on record in the decade-long conflict, with 3,021 Afghan civilians killed as insurgents stepped up suicide and roadside bomb attacks.

    In his remarks, Lieutenant General Scaparrotti said the U.S. military will start sending advisory teams this year to help Afghan forces take the lead in the fight against insurgents.  He said the aim is to give the Afghans enough to time to get trained before U.S. forces depart in 2014.

    You May Like

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border From Mexico

    In remote areas of the Sonoran Desert, which straddles the US-Mexico, thousands of migrants face arid desolation

    Video Recycling is Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    It's an ancient craft that stretches back millennia - but despite Lebanon’s trash crisis providing a lifeline, remaining glass blowers face an uncertain future

    Meet the Alleged Killer of Cambodia’s Kem Ley

    What little is known about former soldier, troublesome Buddhist monk and indebted gambler, raises more questions than answers

    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.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    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 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 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.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora