News / USA

    US Lawmakers Seek End to Combat Mission in Afghanistan

    Soldiers from the US Army's 10th Combat Aviation Brigade take a break in a designated smoking area at Jalalabad Air Field in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, May 3, 2011
    Soldiers from the US Army's 10th Combat Aviation Brigade take a break in a designated smoking area at Jalalabad Air Field in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, May 3, 2011
    Cindy Saine

    A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers is calling on President Barack Obama to draw up plans to hasten the withdrawal of all U.S. combat forces from Afghanistan. The president announced more than a year ago that he plans to begin pulling out U.S. troops this July, but he has said the pace of withdrawal will be dictated by events on the ground.

    A group of Democratic and Republican lawmakers held a news conference Thursday to call on the Obama administration and the Pentagon to provide a concrete timeline of their plans to end U.S. military operations in Afghanistan. Democratic Congressman James McGovern of Massachusetts said that one of the primary reasons for invading Afghanistan in 2001 had been to kill or capture al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

    "The American people want us to get out of Afghanistan. They want us to go after al-Qaida. But they have long since realized that al-Qaida is not in Afghanistan," said McGovern. "I remind you that we found Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, hundreds of miles away from the Afghan border."

    A number of progressive Democrats have been calling for a speedy end to U.S. military operations in Afghanistan for some time, and it appears that the killing of bin Laden is likely to boost the calls. Most Republican lawmakers support staying in Afghanistan as long as necessary. But Republican Congressman Walter Jones of North Carolina said that at a time of debate in Congress on drastic cuts to domestic government spending, he cannot support funds for what he says is a corrupt government in Kabul.

    Related Carolyn Presutti video report

    "Here we are cutting programs for the American people," said Jones. "Senior citizens are being told, 'No, no more sandwiches for lunch,' children are being told 'No milk' in the morning. And yet, we are spending $8 billion a month to prop up a corrupt leader. And I think the American people are sick and tired of spending money in foreign countries that we do not have, and telling the American people 'we can't help you have a sandwich.' That is pretty pathetic."

    Several of the lawmakers mentioned widespread corruption in Afghanistan.

    Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi did not join in to co-sponsor the bill that calls for a withdrawal plan. But she said that when she last visited Afghanistan in March, everyone was focused on handing over authority from U.S. forces to Afghan control.

    "Everyone that I met, from the ambassador to the generals, to the soldiers and Marines that we met along the way, were all about the transition out," said Pelosi. "We know the American people are weary of this war; we simply cannot afford it."

    Earlier this week, Republican House Speaker John Boehner said this is not the time to back away from U.S. commitments in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    "Our fight for freedom and liberty around the globe continues. We face a complex and dangerous threat, even today. It is important that we remain vigilant in our efforts to defeat terrorist enemies and protect the American people. This makes our engagement in places like Pakistan and Afghanistan more important, not less," said Boehner.

    At a Senate hearing earlier this week, a number of lawmakers also expressed increasing frustration with the longest war in U.S. history. But former State Department official Anne-Marie Slaughter warned senators that limiting U.S. operations in Afghanistan already has been tried - with disastrous results that prompted the president to order a temporary surge in U.S. forces deployed there. Slaughter said clearing Taliban strongholds and bolstering the Afghan government could help bring about a negotiated end to the war.

    Obama has not indicated that the successful operation by U.S. special forces to kill bin Laden will alter his 2014 target date for withdrawing all U.S. military forces from Afghanistan. But the president could face a challenge from Congress, as public opinion surveys show that the American people have soured on the 10-year war. A recent CNN-Opinion Research Corporation public opinion survey indicates that 52 percent of those Americans polled oppose the U.S. war in Afghanistan, and only 42 percent are in favor of it.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.