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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Troops Depart

Afghans are grappling with how exodus will affect country's fragile economy More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs