News / USA

US Role in Afghanistan Questioned After bin Laden Death

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates speaks to Marines while visiting the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment at Forward Operating Base Sabit Qadam in Helmand province, Afghanistan, March 8, 2011 (file photo)
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates speaks to Marines while visiting the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment at Forward Operating Base Sabit Qadam in Helmand province, Afghanistan, March 8, 2011 (file photo)

Multimedia

Now that Osama bin Laden is dead, U.S. involvement in Afghanistan faces greater scrutiny. Some lawmakers, and analysts, in Washington, D.C.,  want President Barack Obama to do more than begin the initial withdrawal of some troops, while others want even more boots on the ground.

The Afghanistan war began as an effort to find Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida network. It has grown to 100,000 U.S. troops, plus tens of thousands of allied forces, at a cost this year of at least $100 billion. But more than a year ago, the president said, "America has no interest in fighting an endless war in Afghanistan."

So in July, some U.S. troops will withdraw.

Now, however, with terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden dead, some say that changes everything.

Steve Clemons, the founder of the private Afghanistan Study Group, wants even more U.S. troops out, and less combat. He said having U.S. troops in unstable areas results in higher al-Qaida recruitment.

"So if you move to the parts of Afghanistan that are more stable, that you can secure human rights, that you can help set up systems of government that themselves become compelling to and seductive to other parts of the state," said Clemons. "That would be fantastic because the Taliban would have to deal with that appetite that their own people have."

Clemons favors pulling out 30,000 troops in July, and withdrawing thousands more on a regular basis.

Others obviously disagree. Listen to this debate between Brian Katulis of The Center for American Progress and James Carafano of The Heritage Foundation.

"Cutting back on the military now would be about dumbest thing the United States could do," said Carafano. "This is exactly the wrong time to do that. Picture you’re in the middle of a marathon, and you’re winning, do you stop and let everyone catch up?"

"I don’t understand what winning means in Afghanistan today -  if we’ve got only about 100 al-Qaida militants in that country and we have a much bigger threat in al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen," said Katulis.

In addition to Yemen, analysts feel more resources should move toward Pakistan, a larger country with six times as many people as Afghanistan and an unknown number of nuclear weapons.

"We're never going to have boots on the ground in a substantial way in Pakistan, but we do need to increase our support and funding to the Pakistani people," said Katulis. "We're now over-invested in Afghanistan to the detriment of Pakistan."

With mounting evidence that bin Laden lived in Pakistan for the past five years, though, many question the billions of dollars the U.S. gives to Pakistan. The White House explains the U.S.-Pakistan relationship by saying, "It's complicated." Just like the U.S. role in Afghanistan.


Carolyn Presutti

Carolyn Presutti is an Emmy and Silver World Medal award winning television correspondent who works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters.   She has also won numerous Associated Press awards and a Clarion for her coverage of The Syrian Medical Crisis, Haiti, The Boston Marathon Bombing, Presidential Politics, The Southern Economy, and The 9/11 Bombing Anniversary.  In 2013, Carolyn aired exclusive stories on the Asiana plane crash and was named VOA’s chief reporter with Google Glass.

You can follow Carolyn on Twitter at CarolynVOA, on Google Plus and Facebook.

You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt 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.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid