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Obama Cites "Increasingly Perilous" Threat in Hiking Afghan Commitment

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  • Obama Cites "Increasingly Perilous" Threat in Hiking Afghan Commitment

    I wonder how his followers feel about this? :rolleyes:

    Read latest breaking news, updates, and headlines. National Post offers information on latest national and international events & more.

    Obama cites 'increasingly perilous' threat in hiking Afghan commitment
    Sheldon Alberts, Canwest News Washington Correspondent, Canwest News Service
    Published: Thursday, March 26, 2009

    WASHINGTON -- Warning Americans that al-Qaida is "actively planning" terror attacks on the United States, President Barack Obama on Friday announced plans to send 4,000 additional troops to the war in Afghanistan while dramatically increasing U.S. spending on the war.

    Detailing a sweeping new U.S. strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Obama said "the situation is increasingly perilous" as the Taliban gains control over significant parts of both countries.

    "Many people in the United States -- and many in partner countries that have sacrificed so much -- have a simple question: What is our purpose in Afghanistan? After so many years, they ask, why do our men and women still fight and die there? They deserve a straightforward answer," Obama said.

    "So let me be clear: al-Qaida and its allies -- the terrorists who planned and supported the 9/11 attacks -- are in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Multiple intelligence estimates have warned that al-Qaida is actively planning attacks on the U.S. homeland from its safe-haven in Pakistan. And if the Afghan government falls to the Taliban -- or allows al-Qaida to go unchallenged -- that country will again be a base for terrorists who want to kill as many of our people as they possibly can."

    Almost eight years after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Obama said the U.S. needs to make a more concerted effort to disrupt al-Qaida and its allies hiding out along the remote frontier along the Afghan and Pakistani border.

    The al-Qaida leaders there "almost certainly includes al-Qaida's leadership: Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri," Obama said. "They have used this mountainous terrain as a safe-haven to hide, train terrorists, communicate with followers, plot attacks, and send fighters to support the insurgency in Afghanistan. For the American people, this border region has become the most dangerous place in the world. "

    The additional 4,000 U.S. troops, who will be embedded as trainers with soldiers in the Afghan army, bring to 21,000 the number of new U.S. forces Obama has ordered deployed to Afghanistan ahead of upcoming presidential and provincial elections in August.

    Obama's strategy is expected to increase the monthly US$2-billion cost of the Afghan war by up to 60%.

    Obama said he will call on NATO nations to send more troops and civilian personnel when he travels next week to the military alliance's summit in France and Germany. The president said he will specifically ask NATO to provide more military trainers "to ensure that every Afghan unit has a coalition partner."

    The goal is to "accelerate" efforts to build an Afghan army of 134,000 and increase the size of the national police force to 82,000 by 2011.

    "For the first time, this will fully resource our effort to train and support the Afghan Army and Police," Obama said.

    In advance of the NATO summit, the Times of London reported Friday that Great Britain was prepared to send an additional 2,000 troops to Afghanistan.

    "None of the steps that I have outlined will be easy, and none should be taken by America alone. The world cannot afford the price that will come due if Afghanistan slides back into chaos or al-Qaida operates unchecked," Obama said.

    "As America does more, we will ask others to join us in doing their part. From our partners and NATO allies, we seek not simply troops, but rather clearly defined capabilities: supporting the Afghan elections, training Afghan Security Forces, and a greater civilian commitment to the Afghan people."

    Obama's new strategy includes U.S. plans, for the first time, to set benchmarks for military progress in fighting the Taliban in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Though details of those benchmarks are still being worked out, White House officials say they will measure the performance of U.S. forces and of governments in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    "I want the American people to understand that we have a clear and focused goal: to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qaida in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to prevent their return to either country in the future," Obama said. "That is the goal that must be achieved. That is a cause that could not be more just. And to the terrorists who oppose us, my message is the same: we will defeat you."

    On the diplomatic front, Obama's special envoy to the region, Richard Holbrooke, is planning to hold bilateral talks with Afghanistan and Pakistan every two months.

    Obama called Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistan's Asif Ali Zardari to brief them on the new U.S. strategy.

    As part of the new policy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, the White House is also promising an "aggressive" effort to recruit regional partners like Russia, China and India to battle the Taliban insurgency and aid with NATO efforts to help with political stability.

    The president's announcement comes 60 days after he ordered a comprehensive review of America's strategy in Afghanistan, a war he said the Bush administration largely ignored after the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

    The review has concluded that, after years of U.S. neglect, the Taliban has regained momentum in Afghanistan while al-Qaida has established a solid base of operations out of Pakistan -- requiring the U.S. to tackle problems in both countries simultaneously.

    "Make no mistake: al-Qaida and its extremist allies are a cancer that risks killing Pakistan from within," Obama said.

    The White House said Obama will press Congress to pass legislation tripling aid to Pakistan to US$1.5-billion a year, while also increasing pressure on the country to step up its efforts to fight the Taliban and al-Qaida terrorists operating freely on the Afghan-Pakistani border.

    "It is important for the American people to understand that Pakistan needs our help in going after al-Qaida. This is no simple task. The tribal regions are vast, rugged, and often ungoverned. That is why we must focus our military assistance on the tools, training and support that Pakistan needs to root out the terrorists," Obama said. "And after years of mixed results, we will not provide a blank check. Pakistan must demonstrate its commitment to rooting out al-Qaida and the violent extremists within its borders. And we will insist that action be taken -- one way or another -- when we have intelligence about high-level terrorist targets."

  • #2
    I thought that he was going to slowly pull everything and everybody out and after training, give it all to the tribes in the desert. SEE! That is what I mean. Every debate he made 20 promises. He made his opposition look like a person without a clue. (the jury might still be out on that.. sorry) But I knew then and my friends agreed. "no one is going to remember half of what he promised, they will just be confused and support whatever he does"... UGH!! this crap is bringing me down... I need a camping trip.
    "And with a collection of minds and talent, they survived"


    • #3
      I totally agree with you Pathfinder. I just get dear in the headlight looks, when I even mention his promises and what is in turn 'Reality' when speaking to the kool aid crowd. Very frustrating and depressing. I firmly believe he is the worst thing that has ever happened to this country.