News / Asia

US Troop Reduction to Test Afghans

Luis Ramirez
President Barack Obama’s decision to withdraw 34,000 of the 66,000 troops now in Afghanistan over the next 12 months comes as Afghan insurgents prepare for the 2013 fighting season. The accelerated withdrawal has multiple implications for operations this year.

In his State of the Union address this week, the president put the drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan into high gear ahead of next year’s withdrawal deadline.   

“This spring our forces will move into a support role while Afghan security forces take the lead. Tonight I can announce that, over the next year, another 34,000 American troops will come home from Afghanistan,” said Obama.

This year’s fighting season begins shortly, and it will be the first time that Afghan national security forces - trained and assisted by the United States and its allies - will be at the forefront.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey, who was in Afghanistan this week, said U.S. forces will be there as a backup.

“What you’ll see this summer is that the Afghan national security forces will be tested. We’ll be there with them, and that’s as much a physical support as it is a psychological support,” said Dempsey.

The troop reduction will be gradual, allowing a sufficient number of U.S. soldiers to be on hand to provide that support.
 
Officials say that satisfies concerns expressed by General John Allen, who has just handed over the command of allied forces in Afghanistan to General Joseph Dunford.
Allen told reporters in Kabul this week his successor faces big challenges in completing the drawdown.

“He has to shrink the basing platform as he retrogrades war materiel that has accumulated for over 10 years, as he sends home a couple hundred thousand folks, leaving the coherence of the campaign intact, which is moving the ANSF [Afghan National Security Forces], keeping them in the lead, supporting them as they take the fight to the enemy, doing all of that in same space and time with less than 23 months remaining. It is a daunting task,” said Allen.

Most of the coalition forces are to be out of Afghanistan by the end of next year. Analysts say what happens in the country beyond that is a big question.
 
Ahmad Majidyar, of the American Enterprise Institute, said setting deadlines like the 2014 pullout date could be helping the insurgents.

“The Taliban have a mantra that 'the coalition forces, they have the clock, but we have the time.' So their strategy right now is to just wait out the foreign troops, and, once the foreign troops are gone, then they will just try to come back with vengeance and more power to regain some of the territories they’ve lost,” said Majidyar.

The U.S. has yet to announce how many troops it may leave beyond 2014 to advise and assist the Afghans as they continue the fight against insurgents. That will be decided in a bilateral security agreement being negotiated now by the U.S. and the Afghan.

You May Like

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party 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.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs