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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More