Friday, March 27, 2009
Obama outlines plan for Afghanistan; more troops to aide training
A new day is dawning on the war in Afghanistan, as President Barack Obama presented his new strategy to achieve victory in the central conflict to the Global War on Terrorism.
"To the terrorists, our message is the same. We will defeat you." said Obama this morning, as he outlined the Administration's plan during a press conference alongside Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.
Obama reiterated that the U.S. military must focus on the top threat to American security: Al Qaeda operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Though the Taliban was swiftly removed from power in 2001, 2008 was the deadliest year for U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan and Al Qaeda's operations remain fully operational across the region. To view an excerpt from the speech, check out CNN's video from the press conference, which we have included here:
The President outlined that the current U.S. policy is not to control the government of Afghanistan, but, rather to "disrupt, dismantle, and defeat" Al Qaeda, which operates with impunity in the border regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan. He went on to say that U.S. intelligence indicates that Al Qaeda is planning additional attacks on the United States, and Al Qaeda forces are chiefly responsible for most of the world's deadliest terrorist attacks over the last eight years.
Obama officially announced an additional increase of more than 4,000 American troops for the region, asked Congress to approve increased aide to allies in Pakistan, and tasked the Pentagon to focus its resources on the conflict. Obama also appointed Ambassador Richard Holbrooke as special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan to ensure that each nation's government is included in the process to dismantle Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
Obama also called on the international community to provide grassroots support to the people of Afghanistan to ensure that the Taliban and their promises or prosperity do not take root within the traditionally tribal culture.
Obama's tough stance on Afghanistan is a welcome announcement to veterans' community, which has clamored for a viable victory strategy on Afghanistan. Though the conflict in Iraq has turned a corner, the United States must not lose focus on a brutal, reconsolidated enemy that continues to threaten our way of life.
In the coming months, check back regularly with American Veteran for continued coverage of our mission in Afghanistan.
To view the Obama Administration's white paper on the situations in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Click Here.
(Media: Photo: Army Sgt. Robert Newman watches the sun rise while on patrol in Afghanistan in 2009. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Adam Mancini, released. Video: Embedded video courtesy of CNN.com, used with permission.)