– Obama: ‘I will promise you this, that if we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am President, it is the first thing I will do. I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this war. You can take that to the bank.’
Change you can believe in!
|There are 68,000 US soldiers based in Afghanistan|
President Barack Obama is to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan and deploy them within six months, US officials have said.
Mr Obama will make the much-anticipated announcement as part of a speech to the nation at West Point military academy.
He is also expected to lay out a rough timeframe for how long the main US military mission will last.
The US currently has 68,000 troops in Afghanistan, with foreign forces overall totalling more than 100,000.
The new troops are expected to focus on tackling the Taliban in the volatile southern and eastern parts of Afghanistan.
Mr Obama’s prime-time speech to the nation on Tuesday comes amid growing domestic concern over the eight-year-old Afghan war.
The BBC’s Paul Adams in Washington says Mr Obama’s speech will seek to allay fears that this is an open-ended mission.
For all the sense of deeper engagement, this speech will also be about how the US president intends to get out of Afghanistan, our correspondent adds.
Both the rise in foreign troop deaths and the chaos that followed August’s discredited elections in Afghanistan have fanned mounting American opposition to the mission.
Earlier this year, however, the US military commander in Afghanistan, Gen Stanley McChrystal, warned that America risked failure in Afghanistan unless troop numbers were increased.
He requested 40,000 more soldiers.
Mr Obama has reached his decision after weeks of deliberating and 10 top-level meetings advisers.
The US president has briefed Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai on the new military strategy.
On Monday, Britain confirmed it was sending 500 more troops to Afghanistan, taking the UK’s total deployment there to 10,000.
Page last updated at 15:49 GMT, Tuesday, 1 December 2009
Source: BBC News
“I have lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States’ presence in Afghanistan,” he wrote Sept. 10 in a four-page letter to the department’s head of personnel. “I have doubts and reservations about our current strategy and planned future strategy, but my resignation is based not upon how we are pursuing this war, but why and to what end.”
“I’m not much for this war. I’m not sure it’s worth all those lives lost,” said Sergeant Christian Richardson as we walked across corn fields that will soon be ploughed up to plant a spring crop of opium poppy.
Opium production rate has soared to 6,900 tons in Afghanistan in the past 10 years ‘despite‘ the presence of 100,000 foreign troops in the country for nearly eight years.
A report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime said on Wednesday that Afghanistan produces 92 percent of the world’s opium that has devastating global consequences.
The UN report also noted that Afghanistan’s illegal opium production is worth 65 billion dollars.
The heroin and opium market feeds 15 million addicts, with Europe, Russia and Iran consuming half the supply, UNODC reported.
– Top US commander in Afghanistan: The Taliban have gained the upper hand:
The Taliban have gained the upper hand in Afghanistan, the top American commander there said, forcing the U.S. to change its strategy in the eight-year-old conflict by increasing the number of troops in heavily populated areas like the volatile southern city of Kandahar, the insurgency’s spiritual home. Gen. Stanley McChrystal warned that means U.S. casualties, already running at record levels, will remain high for months to come.
(Source: The Wall Street Journal)