Quantcast
Connect with us

Biden confirms new US timetable for Afghan withdrawal

Published

on

President Barack Obama pledged Friday that US forces would stand by Afghanistan even after NATO-led troops hand control of the fight against Taliban insurgents to Afghan forces in 2014.

Echoing the president’s commitments, on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Vice President Joe Biden described 2014 as the “drop-dead date” for turning over security responsibilities to the Afghan government.

“And 2014 is now a date that everyone has agreed upon, NATO as well as the Afghanis, that’s kind of the drop-dead date,” said Biden. “But that doesn’t mean we’re going to have anywhere near 100,000 troops in 2013.”

“The exit strategy in Afghanistan is twofold,” Biden continued. “One is that the Afghan government gets to the place where they are able to compensate for the help that the Taliban gets in the villages and in the communities because they’re no longer the better alternative.”

“Secondly, they have enough trained forces that the Taliban cannot bring that government down or occupy population centers. But our fundamental responsibility and the president stated again and the guys keep missing it. It’s not to defeat the Taliban. It’s to degrade and ultimately defeat al Qaeda.”

Far from the dusty battlefields of Afghanistan, where more than 2,200 Allied troops have fallen in a vicious nine-year-old war, Obama and NATO leaders flew in to Lisbon for a two-day summit to set a handover date.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We’ll announce that the transition to Afghan responsibility is about to start, in 2011. We hope this process will be completed by 2014,” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters as the leaders arrived.

It was Afghan President Hamid Karzai who asked his Western allies to allow Afghanistan’s fledgling forces to take charge of the campaign by 2014, allowing the bulk of the 150,000-strong US-led force to return home.

Even as presidents, prime ministers and generals gathered in the white steel conference centre on the banks of the Tagus, the force in Afghanistan said another of its soldiers had been killed by a roadside bomb.

And, in a sign that even fiercer fighting still lies ahead, the Washington Post reported that the US Marine Corps is preparing to deploy the powerful M1 Abrams main battle tank to the Afghan front for the first time.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We finally have the strategy and resources to break the Taliban’s momentum, deprive insurgents of their strongholds, train more Afghan security forces, and assist the Afghan people,” Obama wrote in a widely published op-ed.

“Even as America’s transition and troop reductions will begin this July, NATO can forge a lasting partnership with Afghanistan to make it clear that, as Afghans stand up and take the lead, they will not stand alone,” Obama wrote.

“We cannot turn our backs on the Afghan people as before,” he added, in a separate interview with Spain’s El Pais daily.

The Alliance’s summit has been billed as one of the most important in its history, with meetings planned with the beleaguered Afghan leader Karzai and former Cold War foe Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev.

ADVERTISEMENT

Karzai is in open disagreement with his NATO sponsors over combat tactics, and Medvedev’s Russia has in the recent past been fiercely critical of US missile plans, but the leaders hope both can be won over.

Alongside this, they hope to unveil the 28-nation alliance’s new “strategic concept”, a planning framework to govern how it orders security priorities in a world of multiple new threats and ever tighter defence budgets.

They will unveil plans for a network of radars and interceptors to form an anti-ballistic missile shield in the skies of Europe to protect NATO members, and overcoming Russian concerns by inviting them to take part.

Before leaving Moscow, Medvedev’s top foreign policy aide Sergei Prikhodko said Russia is keen to share ideas about missile defence, but played down the chances of a major decision realigning the continent’s security.

ADVERTISEMENT

Moscow, however, does not expect too much too early. “We are realists, we will not ask for the impossible,” Prikhodko said.

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel dubbed Medvedev’s participation in a NATO-Russia Council meeting at the summit “a milestone in NATO’s development and in its relations with Russia” and “a good sign”.

NATO leaders will also agree to reform the alliance by slashing the number of command headquarters and making them easily deployable to foreign conflicts.

Alliance officials insist the transition to Afghan control is not a rush to the exit, but the war is deeply unpopular in Europe and cash-strapped governments are under pressure from voters to bring soldiers home.

ADVERTISEMENT

Nevertheless, Obama hopes to convince his European allies to send more troops to train their Afghan comrades, and summit host Portugal said Friday that it would like to send more.

Karzai surprised many of his allies this week by urging the United States to scale down military operations and by sharply criticising special forces night raids on Afghan homes.

Hundreds of police closed off and secured streets surrounding the complex, part of a team of 7,000 deployed for the meeting. A frigate patrolled the river and a helicopter patrolled overhead.

But there was no sign of the street fighting by anarchist militants that marred last year’s NATO summit in Strasbourg, and police were able to contain scattered pacifist protesters.

ADVERTISEMENT

This video is from MSNBC’s Morning Joe, broadcast Nov. 19, 2010.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

With AFP.

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Facebook

Maddow slams Trump’s era of government officials ‘saving the country from the commander-in-chief’ with leaks

Published

on

Rachel Maddow on Monday worried about the pattern of government officials leaking to the press to stop President Donald Trump from sabotaging United States' interests to help Russia.

The MSNBC anchor broke down the key questions raised by the bombshell New York Times report that officials were keeping secrets from Trump to protect U.S. interests.

Maddow reminded of a June 2017 story by Michael Isikoff.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump angrily demands newspaper reveal unnamed sources behind bombshell report on his Russia policy

Published

on

President Donald Trump on Monday evening again lashed out at The New York Times for reporting on his Russia policy.

"The story in The New York Times about the U.S. escalating attacks on Russia’s power grid is fake news, and the failing New York Times knows it," Trump argued in a tweet sent after 10 p.m.

"They should immediately release their sources which, if they exist at all, which I doubt, are phony," he continued.

"Times must be held fully accountable," he demanded.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1140804748423118848

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Trump seethes and calls Fox ‘fake news’ after seeing a story that made him mad

Published

on

Trouble appears to be brewing between President Donald Trump and the cable news station he loves: Fox News.

In a tweet Monday night, the president lashed out at the network over its polling and called it “fake news’ — an epithet he usually reserves for mainstream outlets:

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1140768516288782336?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Media Matters for America Senior Fellow Matthew Gertz, who has previously noted that Trump appears to record news segments and watch them a few hours later, suggested that the president appeared to be reacting to an earlier segment from Special Report with Bret Baier. The segment showed that, even according to Fox News’ polling, Trump trails every single leading candidate in the Democratic field in head-to-head matchups.

Continue Reading
 
 

Copyright © 2019 Raw Story Media, Inc. PO Box 21050, Washington, D.C. 20009 | Masthead | Privacy Policy | For corrections or concerns, please email [email protected]

I need your help.

Investigating Trump's henchmen is a full time job, and I'm trying to bring in new team members to do more exclusive reports. We have more stories coming you'll love. Join me and help restore the power of hard-hitting progressive journalism.

TAKE A LOOK
close-link

Investigating Trump is a full-time job, and I want to add new team members to do more exclusive reports. We have stories coming you'll love. Join me and go ad-free, while restoring the power of hard-hitting progressive journalism.

TAKE A LOOK
close-link