News

    US President Has Been Considering Afghanistan Strategy for Months

    Mr. Obama's focus on Afghanistan began during the 2008 presidential campaign when he visited the country for the first time

    President Obama's decision on a new strategy for Afghanistan was preceded by months of statements, smaller decisions and meetings with his security cabinet
    President Obama's decision on a new strategy for Afghanistan was preceded by months of statements, smaller decisions and meetings with his security cabinet
    Siri NyropJohn Walker

    President Obama's decision on a new strategy for Afghanistan was preceded by months of statements, smaller decisions and meetings with his security cabinet. This timeline, begins with the 2008 presidential election and ends with President Obama's last strategy session before his announcement at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

    During the presidential campaign, in July 2008, then Senator Obama visited Afghanistan for the first time. He said he opposes the war in Iraq and favors returning the focus to Afghanistan. He called it the front line in the fight against terrorism.

    In January 2009, Barack Obama was sworn in as president of the United States.  He mentioned Afghanistan in his inaugural address.  "We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan," he stated.

    Two days later, President Obama appointed Richard Holbrooke as special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    In February, the White House released a statement, announcing a troop increase of 17,000 soldiers to stabilize what it called a a deteriorating situation in Afghanistan.   

    In March, the president announced a new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    "So I want the American people to understand that we have a clear and focused goal:  to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaida in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to prevent their return to either country in the future. That's the goal that must be achieved," Mr. Obama said. "That is a cause that could not be more just.  And to the terrorists who oppose us, my message is the same:  We will defeat you."

    In May, President Obama hosted Pakistani President Asif Zardari and Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the White House.  The meeting coincided with public outrage in Afghanistan over a U.S. airstrike in Farah province that caused many civilian casualties.  

    Days later, the Pentagon announced it was replacing General David McKiernan, the commander of U.S. and Nato forces in Afghanistan.  Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said "fresh eyes" and a "new approach" were needed to deal with the worsening situation in Afghanistan.  

    In June, General Stanley McChrystal took over as top U.S. and Nato commander in Afghanistan. He ordered a review of the military mission.  He said the war will not be measured by the number of insurgents killed, but by the number of civilians protected from violence.

    In August, facing the highest number of monthly U.S. casualties in Afghanistan since 2001, President Obama spoke to America's largest veterans group.  He described the war in Afghanistan as crucial to U.S. national security.

    "The insurgency in Afghanistan didn't just happen overnight, and we won't defeat it overnight. This will not be quick, nor easy. But we must never forget: This is not a war of choice," Mr. Obama said. "This is a war of necessity."  

    On August 20, Afghans went to the polls to elect a new president.  Later, reports of widespread fraud raised questions about U.S. support for President Hamid Karzai.

    In September, U.S. public opinion polls showed declining support for the war effort in Afghanistan.

    U.S. media reported that General McChrystal -- in a confidential memo -- had warned the war will likely end in failure without additional U.S. troops.  Some reports said the general was requesting up to 40,000 more troops.

    With the policy review ongoing, media reports in October said President Obama was considering alternatives to just engaging the Taliban -- such as counter insurgency strategies to protect densely populated Afghan areas or concentrating on killing Al-Qaida leaders in Pakistan.

    As the review continued, President Karzai reluctantly agreed to a run-off election. Investigators had ruled he received less than the minimum 50 percent required for victory.

    But his chief rival, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah withdrew, stating that a transparent election was not possible.

    In November, President Karzai was declared the winner of Afghanistan's presidential election.     

    President Obama called on Mr. Karzai to rid his administration of corruption. "I did emphasize to President Karzai that the American people and the international community as a whole want to continue to partner with him and his government in achieving prosperity and security in Afghanistan, but I emphasize that this has to be a point in time in which we begin to write a new chapter," Mr. Obama said.

    In the final days of November, President Obama held his last session on Afghanistan strategy in the White House Situation Room. The president said he would announce his decision on December 1st. 

    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.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.