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 TV, Radio, and Multimedia awards, as well as a Clarion for her TV coverage of The Syrian Medical Crisis, Haiti, The Boston Marathon Bombing, Presidential Politics, The Southern Economy, Google Glass & Other Wearables, and the 9/11 Anniversary.

    You May Like

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    What Take-out Food Reveals About American History

    From fast-food restaurants to pizza delivery, here's what the history of take-out food tells us about changes in American society

    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.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora