Obama on Afghanistan: We can't be there in perpetuity

US president says his plans to start withdrawing forces next year are on track.

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
April 15, 2010 16:34
3 minute read.
Barack Obama.

Barack Obama.. (photo credit: Associated Press)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

Defending his troop surge strategy, US President Barack Obama said Thursday that things in Afghanistan are getting better not worse and his plans to start withdrawing US forces next year are on track.

In an interview with Australian television ahead of an Asian visit, Obama also indicated that Washington will maintain efforts to get China, India and other developing countries to make further commitments to fighting global warming.

Obama confirmed he will visit Canberra and Sydney in June — a rescheduled a visit after he deferred plans to visit staunch ally Australia and nearby Indonesia last month to conduct last-minute lobbying on his health care reforms.

Afghanistan is likely to be a key topic for discussion when he holds talks with leaders in Australia, which has some 1,500 troops in the country — the largest single contingent outside NATO — and has suffered 11 combat deaths.

Obama said the war in Afghanistan remained a difficult task but that there had been positive trends recently.

Obama ordered tens of thousands more troops into Afghanistan last year, and operations in recent months have pushed into parts of southern Afghanistan where Taliban rebels are strongest. Coalition forces have taken the insurgent stronghold of Marjah, and are gearing up for an operation in the Taliban movement's birthplace of Kandahar.

But US combat deaths have risen this year and the Red Cross says roadside bombings and other violence blamed on the Taliban has also increased.

"I would dispute the notion that it is not getting better" in Afghanistan, Obama told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. in the interview, conducted in the White House and broadcast in evening prime time in Australia.

"I do think that what we have seen is a blunting of the momentum of the Taliban, which had been building up in the year prior to me taking office," he said.

Obama reiterated his plan to begin drawing down US troops in 2011 and handing responsibility for security to domestic forces in Afghanistan.


"We can't be there in perpetuity," he said. "Neither the American people nor the Australian people should be asked to carry that burden any longer than it needs to be carried."

On China, Obama said the United States was not interested in constraining the Asian giant's booming growth or its emergence as a world power but that the country must take seriously the responsibilities that come with that role.

Asked about China's commitment to fighting global warming, Obama said China's leaders understand they need to decide on a new model that allows the country to pursue growth while also protecting the environment.

"Right now though, their impulse is to say, well, we'll let the developed countries, the Australias and the Americas, deal with this problem first and we'll deal with it when we've caught up a little bit in terms of our standard of living," he said.

"The point we've tried to make is that we can't allow China to wait."

He said the global agreement on climate change struck last year in Copenhagen was a sign of progress, but that the world "has to do more."

China and the United States are among the world's largest emitters of the gases that cause global warming, but Obama said "no two countries can dictate a solution" to the problem.

He said developed and emerging countries must both find ways of reducing their emissions of the gases that are causing global warming.

"If emerging countries, not just China, but India, Brazil, and others, are pursuing a path in which they replace us as the largest carbon emitters, that is not a sustainable, practical approach," he said.

Now is the time to join the news event of the year - The Jerusalem Post Annual Conference!
For more information and to sign up,
click here>>

Related Content

 PLASTIC BOTTLE floats in the Mediterranean Sea, at Zikim beach near Ashkelon
June 16, 2019
G20 agrees to tackle ocean plastic waste

By REUTERS

Cookie Settings