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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid