slow dance to Lisa Lis
Join Date: Dec 2010
We're getting out of Afghanistan.
US troops in Afghanistan will end "most" combat operations this spring, US President Barack Obama and Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai have agreed.
American forces are expected to switch to a support role, slightly earlier than originally scheduled, as Afghan troops take the security lead.
The two leaders also backed the holding of talks between the Afghan government and Taliban leaders in Doha, Qatar.
Most of the 66,000 US troops in Afghanistan are due to leave in 2014.
"Starting this spring, our troops will have a different mission - training, advising, assisting Afghan forces," Mr Obama said in remarks at the White House on Friday, as Mr Karzai stood alongside.
Both leaders gave the impression that they have secured something tangible from their latest encounter. President Obama clearly feels he'll be able to accelerate the withdrawal of American forces in the coming months.
For his part, President Karzai has secured the withdrawal of coalition forces from villages and the rapid handing over of prisons and detainees to his authority. This, he says, will make it easier to convince his own people that any American troops who remain after the end of the Nato-led mission in 2014 should be granted immunity from Afghan prosecution.
It's an important indication the two sides are thinking ahead to a bilateral security agreement beyond 2014. But when President Karzai side-stepped the question of the size of America's long term presence (saying, rather implausibly, that "numbers are not going to make a difference"), he avoided the question that's been debated all over Washington this week.
"It will be a historic moment and another step toward full Afghan sovereignty."
The presidents also agreed that the US would hand over custody of prisoners to the Afghan government, a step Mr Karzai said was critical for his country's sovereignty.
I guess Obama realized most Americans want done with this war.
Also check out this photo
What's going on here?
Actually the page where I saw the article explains.
Trying to make it look we achieved something. Obama is literally trying to put his best face forward.
If there were any doubts, President Obama’s press conference today with Afghan president Hamid Karzai should dispel them: We are so out of there, at least as a full-bore fighting force, and sooner than previously scheduled.
NATO had planned, with Karzai’s assent, to pull out all Western combat forces from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. But Obama said today that he will scale back U.S. troops to a “support role” starting this spring—that is, sometime in the next few months. From then on, he said, Afghan forces “will take the lead,” while “the nature of our work will be a training, assisting, and advising role.”
Obama spun the news as a victory lap. “It will be a historic moment,” he proclaimed, “another step toward full Afghan sovereignty.” That’s one way to put it.
When one reporter asked if our accomplishments in this war had been worth all the bloodshed, Obama recalled the reason we intervened in Afghanistan in the first place—the 3,000 Americans killed on Sept. 11, 2001, as a result of an attack that al-Qaida had planned on Afghan soil. Our “central goal” ever since, he said, has been to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qaida while also bringing Osama bin Laden to justice. Mission accomplished.
But this answer was misleading. It sidestepped the fact that, at the end of 2009, Obama sent an additional 33,000 troops to Afghanistan, a surge of nearly 50 percent above the 68,000 already there—and that he did so not to go after bin Laden and al-Qaida (a task that could have been handled with far fewer forces) but rather to pursue a counterinsurgency strategy, at least in the cities, particularly in the southern districts. This strategy involved not only killing and capturing bad guys but also helping to reform the Afghan government and providing the people with basic services—in short, nation-building.
What Obama didn’t mention is that this surge and this strategy were not a success. He’d treated the strategy as an experiment; he gave it 18 months to work, and his generals assured him that would be enough time for the Afghan military to take the lead in a majority of the country’s districts, even though some of them knew very well it would take longer. They gambled that enough progress would be made to convince the president to give them more time and more troops. They gambled wrong. After 18 months, almost to the day, Obama announced that he would start pulling out all 33,000 surge troops—and not replace them with any new ones. This too he publicly presented as a victory, and by the same rationale: bin Laden had been killed, al-Qaida decimated, Taliban foot soldiers routed. But the goals of the surge—the goals of the counterinsurgency strategy—had not been accomplished. Obama simply—and wisely—rejected them; the experiment was over; he wasn’t going to double down.
He goes on to argue that during the debates on what to do with Afghanistan, Biden got it right and Obama, Clinton and Petraeus got it wrong. Biden argued counterinsurgency wouldn't work in the near term in Afghanistan. The author points that Afghanistan represents pretty much the classic, textbook situation where an insurgency will suceed.
Prerequisites for a Successful Insurgency.”
They include a corrupt government, a largely rural and illiterate population, a bordering state that serves as a sanctuary for insurgent fighters … from top to bottom, it’s a portrait of Afghanistan.
Last edited by KevinNYC : 01-12-2013 at 10:51 AM.