News / Asia

    White House Struggles to Clarify Obama Afghanistan Strategy

    White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (file photo from Sept. 15, 2011)
    White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (file photo from Sept. 15, 2011)

    The White House faced additional questions Thursday on U.S. and NATO discussions about potentially ending combat operations in Afghanistan by the middle of next year as foreign forces transition to an Afghan security lead.

    Several times during the news briefing, reporters asked Press Secretary Jay Carney whether there has been any fundamental change in the U.S. and NATO timeline set at a NATO summit in 2010.

    NATO vowed to complete the transfer of security responsibilities to Afghan forces and withdraw foreign troops by the end of 2014.  But officials have always stressed that security conditions would determine the pace and scope of the process.

    What Carney made clear in responding to a number of pointed questions is that the 2014 target date has not changed, and that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, in remarks on Wednesday, was not announcing any new decision.

    In his remarks to reporters accompanying him to Brussels, Panetta said the U.S. would like to complete a transition from a combat role to a training, advise and assist role "hopefully" by "mid- to the latter part of 2013."

    Carney sought to keep the focus on President Obama's main objective -- disrupting, dismantling and ultimately defeating al-Qaida.  He responded this way when asked to clarify how long U.S. troops could be playing a combat role.

    "Well potentially, until that time when full security lead, is actually the phrase that we use here, until that transfer takes place, which as designated by NATO in Lisbon will be accomplished by the end of 2014," Carney said.

    President Obama's spokesman was asked if the transfer of security responsibilities precluded combat participation by U.S. forces.  No, he said, and drew a link to Iraq, where the U.S. handed over to Iraqi forces but still had highly-capable forces in country that could assist in combat missions.  

    On how quickly U.S. forces would be withdrawing after September, when U.S. troop levels are expected to be about 68,000, Carney said that remains to be determined by NATO after assessing how successful the transition to an Afghan security lead has been.

    After Secretary Panetta's remarks on Wednesday, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney continued his sharp criticism of Mr. Obama, focusing on the Panetta remarks.

    "The Taliban hears it, the Pakistanis hear it, the Afghan leaders hear it. Why in the world do you go to the people that you’re fighting with and tell them the day that you’re pulling out your troops? It makes absolutely no sense. His naivete is putting in jeopardy the mission of the United States of America and our commitments to freedom," Romney said.

    Asked about this, Jay Carney said he would not address specific criticisms, but then said some critics of the president's strategy supported an Afghanistan policy under the George W. Bush administration that lacked clarity.

    President Obama, he said, has a very clear, focused, achievable policy, adding Mr. Obama does not support "war without end."

    You May Like

    Video Twists and Turns Aplenty in US Presidential Race

    Even as Americans pause for this week’s Memorial Day holiday, much attention is focused on the presidential contest

    Iran Orders Social Media Sites to Store Data Inside Country

    New requirements are expected to affect the instant messaging app Telegram, which has more than 20 million users inside Iran

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    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