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

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Video US Landmark Pushes Endangered Species

People gathered in streets, on rooftops in Manhattan to see image highlights that covered 33 floors of Empire State Building More

World’s Widest Suspension Bridge Being Built Over Bosphorus

Once built, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge will span 2 kilometers with about 1.5 kilometers over water, and will be longest suspension bridge in world carrying rail system More

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.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs