News / USA

Senators Press to Keep Some US Troops in Afghanistan

U.S. soldiers search the site where a suicide attacker rammed a car bomb into a NATO convoy, killing two foreign civilian contractors, in the Afghan capital Kabul, Afghanistan, Feb. 10, 2014.
U.S. soldiers search the site where a suicide attacker rammed a car bomb into a NATO convoy, killing two foreign civilian contractors, in the Afghan capital Kabul, Afghanistan, Feb. 10, 2014.
Michael Bowman
American lawmakers reacted sharply Wednesday to President Barack Obama’s directive to the U.S. military to prepare for the withdrawal of all troops from Afghanistan if no long-term security agreement is finalized with Kabul.

Many legislators would like to see a residual force remain in Afghanistan, for training and other puposes, but some concede that may not be possible.

Obama took action Tuesday to back up what his administration has been saying for months: absent a bilateral security agreement, or BSA, between the U.S. and Afghanistan, all American troops will depart the country by the end of this year.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said he understood Obama was frustrated by Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s refusal to sign the document.

“The longer we have to wait for a BSA, the harder it is to plan militarily,” he said.

Graham worried that an Afghanistan left to fend for itself would descend into the chaos and violence that has beset Iraq since U.S. forces left that country - a view shared by fellow Republican Senator Johnny Isakson.

“We need to leave a presence in Afghanistan. We made a mistake not leaving one in Iraq. And I hope, whatever the president negotiated, we leave a presence to protect the [U.S.] assets [in Afghanistan], and also to have a deployment if we need it in the future,” he said.

Other lawmakers contend that U.S. troops have already been in Afghanistan too long, and that scarce government resources should be redirected toward domestic needs. As early as 2011, when Obama first announced a drawdown of troops in Afghanistan, independent Senator Bernie Sanders said Afghanistan must take full responsibility for its security. He urged a U.S. withdrawal “at significantly faster speed and greater scope” than the administration’s timeline.

Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen said finalizing a BSA with Afghanistan would be in both countries’ best interests. But she added the United States “may not have a choice” except to withdraw if the accord is not finalized. She said President Karzai - or whoever succeeded him after this year’s elections - must understand that Americans have soured on open-ended foreign military commitments. 

“The country is war-weary. We have had troops in a war zone for over 10 years now. I think the country wants to bring those servicemen and women home, wants to focus on the challenges we face here at home,” she said.

President Karzai has objected to U.S. military tactics in his country, especially raids on Afghan homes. His spokesman, Faiq Wahidi, repeated the president's demands.

"This agreement must reflect and mean peace to the people of Afghanistan," the spokesman says, "And whenever the Afghan people are convinced that their wish will be met, the agreement will certainly be signed,” he said.

Afghan lawmakers reportedly support the BSA by an overwhelming margin, and many presidential hopefuls preparing for the election, now less than two months away, have said they would sign the accord upon taking office if Karzai failed to do so.

For now, Senator Graham is urging patience, even if that means waiting for a new Afghan president leader to sign the bilateral security agreement. He added, however, “The longer we wait, the more difficult it gets.”

You May Like

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition More

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: pako from: pako
February 27, 2014 12:13 AM
Israel does to the Palestinians the Holocaust. So the Palestinians to fight Israel. Israel has sold a plot of the American language to justify this holocaust., And America was dragged to war and killed in these wars. America a huge advantage against Palestinians. Where in the World? Where is sanity? Why America will not impose sanctions on Israel?. Because interests?. America has fallen to the lies of Israel enough. America needs to work harder and start to take action against the crimes of Israel. America should not give up on the peace process. Kerry should keep pushing and pushing and pushing. Kerry did not need to address and take to heart the barking of the extreme right in Israel. Because that can not continue.

by: Sunny Enwerem from: Lagos
February 26, 2014 5:04 PM
Karzai has is and will always be a problem because he is a sinking ship working and fighting to install his own man.

by: ali baba from: new york
February 26, 2014 4:39 PM
we should not keep any troops in the Afghanistan. it is not our country and keep some troops will cause security for them and many lives could lost. Afghanistan .problems will not be solved.it is not our business. it is the country living in stone age mentality and it will not get better . they continue killing each other .they will continue planting drugs. they continue Bacha bazi..we should not spend a penny on that country again

by: Rob Swift from: Great Britain
February 26, 2014 4:08 PM
So far as I am aware there is some 40 tons of the brown sold by the PKK (a terrorist organisation) into Europe here annually which represents 90 per cent of the heroine trade. That is apart from the so called illegal trade. Please tell me why President Obama should put American lives and futures on the line to support that.

by: Peter Dow from: Scotland
February 26, 2014 3:23 PM
"America's longest war will finally be over" President Barack Obama, State of the Union Speech 2014.

It's not over. We've not got justice against Pakistan for its role as state sponsors of Al Qaeda, Bin Laden and 9/11. Bin Laden was killed in Pakistan where he and the terrorist group he founded, Al-Qaeda, which attacked the US on 9/11, was hosted and sponsored by the Pakistani military intelligence.

The same Pakistani military given $10 billion in military aid (and $ billions more in civil aid) by the US since 2001 has its intelligence service, the ISI, actually SUPPORTING, RECRUITING, TRAINING, SUPPLYING AND DIRECTING THE TALIBAN against our forces in Afghanistan and also sponsors Al Qaeda for world-wide terrorism like on 9/11.

So the Taliban, Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups based in Pakistani territory are secret agents, proxies, irregular forces of the Pakistani military.

The Taliban and Al Qaeda don't wear Pakistani military uniform of course, because that would give the game away, even to the fools who run the Pentagon and NATO.

The evidence for Pakistan's secret terrorist war against the West can be viewed in the BBC's "SECRET PAKISTAN" videos.
Part 1 Double Cross http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSinK-dVrig
Part 2 Backlash http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5-lSSC9dSE

If we withdraw our forces from Afghanistan, Pakistan will have got off with 9/11, think it has made a fool of the US, will see the US's retreat from Afghanistan as Pakistan's victory and a green light for Pakistan to go on the offensive, perhaps giving (claiming theft) one of Pakistan's nuclear weapons to Al-Qaeda to use the nuke to blow up an American city or metro killing far more people than were killed in 9/11.

Then Pakistan will demand maybe $100 billion a year from the US to "help to secure" its nuclear weapons.

We are fools if we think this war is over just because we bring our troops home. It's very far from over.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs