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

China’s Influence Grows With New Infrastructure Bank

Multibillion-dollar China-backed and BRICS-supported Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank seen as possible challenger to such lenders as IMF, World Bank More

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

Rabbi Michel Serfaty makes the rounds in his friendship bus to encourage dialogue and break down barriers between the two groups More

Post-deal Iran Leaders Need 'Economic Momentum' to Solidify

Economists say deal could inject more than $100 billion into coffers - not enough to entirely rescue ailing economy - but maybe adequate to create 'economic momentum' 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.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs