News / USA

US Officials Confident on 2014 Date to End Combat in Afghanistan

Adm. Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (File)
Adm. Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (File)

U.S. officials are expressing confidence that a 2014 date for ending international combat operations in Afghanistan will be met, with Afghan security forces assuming a lead role in defending their nation by then. 

NATO leaders emerged from a two-day summit in Portugal with a common commitment that U.S. and other allied forces will have moved into a support role in Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

Appearing on ABC's This Week program, the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, expressed cautious optimism about the timetable.

"That is very much a reachable goal. There is a lot to do between now and then. Clearly, it is a very dangerous place, and a very tough fight we are in right now," said Mullen. "But that is a goal [Afghan] President [Hamid] Karzai set out there, and that all NATO allies and all countries that provide forces have signed up to [achieve], and we think it is reachable."

Admiral Mullen compared the Afghan security transition to one undertaken in another strife-torn nation.

"I would describe it much like what we just went through in Iraq, where they have the lead for their own security. We are then in some capacity in a training, advising and assist mode, which we would expect to be for some time," he said.

About 150,000 international forces are currently deployed in Afghanistan, more than half of them are from the United States. Some nations, like Canada, have already announced an end to a combat role before the 2014 date. The transition to a lead role for Afghan forces is expected to begin next year.

Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described the NATO declaration on Afghanistan as a vindication of President Barack Obama's strategy for the country.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (File)
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (File)

"We now have all the components of the strategy, which President Obama directed a year ago," she said. "And, we believe it is working. What was particularly reassuring were the expressions of support from the NATO-ISAF [International Security Assistance Force] partner countries, recognizing that we are also making progress on the ground."

Secretary Clinton added, however, that U.S. and other forces must continually strive to minimize civilian casualties, while aggressively pursuing Taliban insurgents. For months, President Karzai has complained of foreign troops inflicting a heavy death toll on Afghan non-combatants. U.S. military officials assert that, for every Afghan civilian who perishes as a result of NATO combat operations, the Taliban kill roughly nine others.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid