News / Asia

    White House: No US Troops an Option For Afghanistan

    Three days before Afghanistan's president, Hamid Karzai, meets with President Barack Obama in Washington, White House officials said Tuesday that the United States is considering all options, including potentially leaving no troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014 when foreign combat forces are to leave. 
     
    The United States and Afghanistan are negotiating details of a bilateral security agreement, including the scope of a potential U.S. troop presence, after 2014.
     
    Recent media reports have quoted unnamed U.S. officials as saying President Obama received a recommendation from military commanders to maintain between 6,000 and 20,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan after 2014.
     
    But the reports say the White House is considering a smaller contingent, with as few as 3,000 troops, to train Afghan forces and help prevent al-Qaida from using the country again as a haven.
     
    Senior Obama administration officials say the question of specific U.S. troop levels is less important than achieving key goals.
     
    Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes said, "The way the president approaches this is not aiming to keep a certain number of troops within Afghanistan.  The objective of the bilateral security agreement negotiations is not to accomplish a number of U.S. troops in a country.  It is to accomplish the two goals of denying a safe haven to al-Qaida, and training and equipping Afghan national security forces."
     
    Rhodes was asked by reporters whether President Obama would not rule out a force level of no U.S. troops in Afghanistan in favor of conducting counterterrorism operations through other means.  Rhodes replied, "Yes, we wouldn't rule out any option."  He added that Friday's talks between the U.S. and Afghan presidents would not finalize any troop number decision.  Rhodes said Mr. Obama will consider all aspects of the situation, including recommendations from U.S. and NATO commander Marine Corps General John Allen.
     
    White House press secretary Jay Carney said, "As we have said in the past, the president is in the process of reviewing proposals and when he is ready to announce a decision, he will do that."
     
    After the withdrawal of a 30,000-member surge force last year, 68,000 U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan.  Plans call for continuing gradual reductions toward a milestone when Afghan forces assume the full security lead this year.
     
    Deputy Assistant to the President and Coordinator for South Asia Doug Lute avoided discussion of any potential U.S. troop numbers mentioned in recent media reports.
     
    "If you assume that we make more progress against al-Qaida, then potentially the C.T. [i.e., counterterrorism] mission two years from now is less than it might otherwise be.  If you assume that the Afghan capacity continues on a positive glide path and we reach our goals in terms of the development of the army and the police, then you can imagine that they require less support," he said. 
     
    Lute said U.S., coalition and Afghan forces have made a lot of progress against al-Qaida.  But he added, "the job is not done," and said the training of Afghan forces is incomplete.
     
    Recently, the Taliban issued a statement threatening to continue fighting the Afghan government if U.S. forces remain in the country after 2014.
     
    President Karzai arrived in Washington on Tuesday and will participate in several activities, including talks with U.S. officials and a visit to wounded U.S. soldiers.
     
    Friday's talks between President Obama and President Karzai will include U.S. and Afghan delegations, and will be followed by a working lunch and a joint news conference.

    You May Like

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora