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Washington Area Residents Offer Mixed Reactions to New US War Strategy

U.S. President Barack Obama's decision to send 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan is drawing mixed reactions from people around the nation's capital - including some Afghan immigrants.

Farid Hashimi is the manager of an Afghan restaurant in Arlington, Virginia.
Farid Hashimi is the manager of an Afghan restaurant in Arlington, Virginia.

U.S. President Barack Obama's decision to send 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan is drawing mixed reactions from people around the nation's capital. VOA sampled views in the Washington area, including the opinions of some Afghan immigrants.

Farid Hashimi is the manager of an Afghan restaurant in Arlington, Virginia. He came to the United States in 1989 and is one of an estimated 250,000 Afghans living in the United States. He says President Obama is making the right decision to send more troops to Afghanistan.

"If Mr. Obama had not done that the Taliban would come back in power. The Taliban like we see now on the news is very strong," he said.

This man who said his name is Assad came from Afghanistan 30 years ago. He says he's glad 30,000 additional U.S. troops are headed there. But he doesn't want to see U.S. forces pull out in the middle of 2011 unless the country is stable.

Assad says says he's glad 30,000 additional U.S. troops are headed to Afghanistan.
Assad says says he's glad 30,000 additional U.S. troops are headed to Afghanistan.

"It was already done once during the Russian war. They turned their back on Afghanistan. If we do that again and if it is not fixed by that time, unfortunately it will be another mistake," he said.

Another Afghan immigrant, Jawad Sultni, says President Obama's new war strategy is only a short term solution.

"In order to make sure we have a peaceful country we have to have education because we are a country of less than one percent educated people," Sultni said. "So education is the answer, improving the economy is the answer not having guns in the streets of Afghanistan."

There's no shortage of opinion - both for an against Mr. Obama's war plans - in the Washington area. 

This woman supports President Obama's decision to send more troops to Afghanistan.
This woman supports President Obama's decision to send more troops to Afghanistan.

"I think it's a decision and from everything he [President Obama] said last night is what is best for our country at this time for the protection of all of the citizens and it wasn't a decision he came apon lightly," one woman said.

"I say no to sending those troops over there and how long they are going to stay over there," another Washington resident said. "You don't know if they are going to make it back home or not make it back home."

This woman has a daughter in the military and her son-in-law will be deployed to Afghanistan in February.

This woman has a daughter in the military and her son-in-law will be deployed to Afghanistan in February.
This woman has a daughter in the military and her son-in-law will be deployed to Afghanistan in February.

"I hate to see that so many people have lost their lives for us to just walk away because it would have been in vain. At the same time I don't want us [the United States] to be involved in a war that is going to be ongoing," a woman said.  "So I am hoping that we can get over there, train the Afghan troops to take care of their own business and then bring our troops back home."

Back at the Afghan restaurant Farid Hashimi says everyone in Afghanistan including President Karzai needs to be committed to making the country better.

"My president [Karzai] needs to work in Afghanistan," he said. "We have a good army now, we have good policemen now so everything is Ok we just need to work and use our head."

 

 

 

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