News / USA

Obama Announces Afghanistan Withdrawal Plan

Obama Announces Afghanistan Withdrawal Plani
Luis Ramirez
May 27, 2014 11:25 PM
President Barack Obama says 9,800 U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan after this year. Those forces will be gone in 2016 under a plan announced by the U.S. president Tuesday. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Luis Ramirez
President Barack Obama says 9,800 U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan after this year, but all could be withdrawn if Afghan leaders do not sign a joint security agreement.

The president laid out his plans Tuesday for withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan and bringing America's longest war to what he called a "responsible end." He told reporters in the White House Rose Garden that this is the year the United States will conclude its combat mission in Afghanistan and hand over security responsibility to Afghan forces.

“At the beginning of 2015, we will have approximately 9,800 U.S. service members in different parts of the country, together with our NATO allies and other partners. By the end of 2015, we will have reduced that presence by roughly half.”
President Barack Obama speaks about Afghanistan at the White House Rose Garden on May 27, 2014.President Barack Obama speaks about Afghanistan at the White House Rose Garden on May 27, 2014.
President Barack Obama speaks about Afghanistan at the White House Rose Garden on May 27, 2014.
President Barack Obama speaks about Afghanistan at the White House Rose Garden on May 27, 2014.
Obama said U.S. troops at that point will work only in Kabul and at Bagram air base, near the Afghan capital. By the end of 2016, he said, U.S. forces will be withdrawn with only a normal embassy presence remaining - similar to that left in Iraq, where Obama withdrew troops in 2011.

There are about 32,000 troops left in Afghanistan. Those who remain will continue training Afghan forces and support counter-terrorism operations.

The U.S. sent forces into Afghanistan in 2001 to oust the governing Taliban, which had harbored al-Qaida -- the group responsible for the September 11 attacks in the United States.

“I think Americans have learned that it's harder to end wars than it is to begin them. Yet this is how wars end in the 21st century. Not through signing ceremonies, but through decisive blows against our adversaries, transitions to elected governments, security forces who are trained to take the lead and ultimately full responsibility,” said Obama.

The drawdown plan has drawn criticism from some members of Congress. The head of the House Armed Services Committee, Buck McKeon, said Obama is putting poll numbers over security, called the timeline arbitrary and suggested the plan leaves Afghanistan vulnerable to the kind of chaos that has plagued Iraq since U.S. troops departed.

The president still may order a full withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan this year, if the new Afghan leadership does not sign the bilateral security agreement.

Senior administration officials say the fact that both run-off candidates in Afghanistan's presidential elections have pledged to sign the agreement gave Obama confidence to announce the withdrawal plan on Tuesday.  

The announcement came a day before the U.S. leader delivers a speech in which he will outline the direction of U.S. foreign policy after the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

You May Like

Syrian Rebels Poised for Anti-Russia Collaboration

Forty-one insurgent groups issue joint statement vowing retaliation for Russian air offensives More

Political Maneuver Revives Export-Import Bank's Chances

Parliamentary tactic gets bill out of committee, but it faces opposition in the Senate More

Beijing Warns US on S. China Sea Patrols

Warning follows news reports Thursday that US military is planning to sail warships close to artificial islands Beijing has been aggressively building More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Rom jeremy from: chicago
May 28, 2014 3:44 AM
The presidential should pull out all the troops and also citizens.because the american have no rights at all in afghanistan.

by: Rudy Haugeneder from: Canada
May 28, 2014 2:57 AM
. . ."security forces who are trained to take the lead and ultimately full responsibility," says Obama. What the heck does that mean -- an American-trained Afghan military machine will be the rulers rather than allowing a Islamic-style democratically elected government that understands the region's culture and traditions which are significantly different than those found in Western nations?
Obama and the American political system and its military are tyrants afraid of democracy -- and don't think Afghans have the same ability to freely rule themselves as did the mostly illiterate American peasants of the 1770s who helped set up a White and Christian and slavery-loving nation where only property owners were allowed to vote after they defeated the British Empire in battle.
It seems Obama and the US Congress believe Muslims are stupid people and unable to govern themselves unless it is a US-sponsored military dictatorship and/or Persian Gulf-like monarchy.

by: Hamidi from: Kabul Afghanistan
May 28, 2014 2:27 AM
Even I can say that presence of NATO troops was and are very important and effective for security control in some part of Afghanistan, but Afghanistan is a 160,000 square Km wide country, approximately 60,000 square Km area is covered by the Cities like: Herat, Jalal Abad, Qandahar, Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif…, and all the remaining part of Afghanistan is under the control of Taliban, Al-Qaida or other Afghan Government Opposite Armed groups, from another hand Since America and NATO came to Afghanistan the name of Afghan has been broadcasted like: Terrorist, Killer, Wild, uneducated, radical and intransigent.
It isn’t any other reason only due to the bad propaganda of the politicians who are playing a game of Economic, Development and power.
As All the time Afghanistan was the bridge between powerful Empires to connect them to the water and improve their Influence at the other part of the land which is separated by Afghanistan and its neighbor country which don’t have the border with sea, So let me say as funny: now we had use to it we actually aren’t worry regarding the withdrawal of ISAF or American troops from our country but History is looking after every one and it will also register and write at the world History and there will be someone to judge that what American and Mr. Obama did in Iraq and Afghanistan,

by: Anthony Bellchambers from: London
May 28, 2014 12:39 AM
As Barack Obama revisits American foreign policy, his presidency has ensured there will never be another such incumbent within our lifetime

On January 20th, 2009, the world rejoiced at the election of an American President from an ethnic minority; a lawyer who by the power of his oratory combined with an inspiring vision for the future and the successful utilization of modern technology, won a resounding victory in his election to the White House. Millions around the world, black, brown and white, cried in jubilation at the promise of a new world order directed by an American President who would be cognisant, proactive and sympathetic to the plight of those forced to live under the threat of violence of terrorism and oppressive regimes in addition to those who lack food, water and medical attention.

Now five years on, we now live instead in a world under increasing threat of global war as weapons of mass destruction, both nuclear and chemical, have proliferated under the watch of this US administration, particularly in the Middle East. The balance of power has shifted from Europe to the Eastern Mediterranean and beyond, in an incredible abdication of statesmanship and political and military responsibility.

Contemporaneously, Washington has ensured that the United Nations has been turned into a creature organisation of the US Congress, one that is routinely prevented from carrying out its vital role as the global representative body by the consistently irresponsible use of the US veto in the Security Council.

The international community never imagined that there could have been a more inept US Presidency than that of George W Bush. We were all wrong.

by: Mod from: China
May 27, 2014 10:55 PM
U retreat and leave a mass. Have Americans bring real peace and democracy to Afghanistan ? Think about what U have done to the world.

by: ali baba from: new york
May 27, 2014 3:10 PM
the money we spend on 9800 on barbaric Afghanistan is waste and can be used to overhaul social security system. it seems that we never learn from our mistake that these people do not deserve any sacrifice

by: meanbill from: USA
May 27, 2014 12:40 PM
TRUTH BE TOLD? --- The Obama plan to leave 9,800 US troops in Afghanistan after the US withdrawal (retreat), is the exact same plan that Obama sought from Karzai, and Karzai refused to sign? --- (It's for US troops to hide behind (30) foot high blast-proof walls, "and to kill enemies of America" and not to kill enemies of Afghanistan, with killer drone bombs)..The US wants immunity for American troops killing innocent Afghan civilians with their killer drone bombs, (and Karzai flat out rejected it), and wants Americans who kill innocent Afghan civilians prosecuted in Afghanistan, by Afghans.. -- Obama's Afghan withdrawal plan of leaving 9,800 US troops in Afghanistan to kill the US enemies with the US killer drone bombs, is contingent on the immunity for US troops killing innocent afghan civilians...... REALLY
In Response

by: Chan o from: USA
May 27, 2014 9:26 PM
What's the difference between "withdraw in honor" from Vietnam War and "Responsible end"??? Like Vietnam, with Americans, Koreans, Australians, and others but could not win the War, they withdrew in honor and expected the South VN to fight the war by herself with aid cut off. The South last 3 years. With NATO and others withdrawing. Afghanistan could not survive.
In Response

by: ali baba from: new york
May 27, 2014 3:20 PM
American killed in Afghanistan by road side bombs. it seems that you do not understand or experiencing false imagination. Afghanistan is land of corruption and immorality . afghan people are not thankful for the help we give it to them . They do not deserve any help and they are cowered and have the habit of stabbing from the back

by: TH from: Reno, Nv
May 27, 2014 12:24 PM
Why does our White House staff feel that they must continue to educate our enemies on our military staffing levels all over the world. The American people would be more than happy with hearing we are JUST reducing our levels!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs