U.S.-U.K. Will Stick With Strategy in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON, March 14, 2012 — Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma and British Prime Min­is­ter David Cameron agreed the two nations will con­tin­ue to fol­low the strat­e­gy for Afghanistan that calls for all com­bat troops out of the coun­try by the end of 2014.

The two lead­ers spoke today dur­ing a Rose Gar­den news con­fer­ence fol­low­ing talks at the White House.

The Unit­ed States and Unit­ed King­dom are the two largest troop-con­tribut­ing nations for the NATO-led effort in Afghanistan. Both coun­tries have made tremen­dous sac­ri­fices in the nation, and there remains a tough row to hoe for the future.

“What’s unde­ni­able, though, and what we can nev­er for­get is that our forces are mak­ing very real progress dis­man­tling al-Qai­da, break­ing the Taliban’s momen­tum and train­ing Afghan forces so that they can take the lead and our troops can come home,” the pres­i­dent said.

Britain has fought along­side Amer­i­can troops right from the start, Cameron said.

“We have 9,500 men and women still serv­ing there,” he said. “More than 400 have giv­en their lives, and today again we com­mem­o­rate each and every one of them.”

Afghan nation­al secu­ri­ty forces already have respon­si­bil­i­ty for pro­tect­ing more than half of the nation’s pop­u­la­tion. “Today the prime min­is­ter and I reaf­firmed the tran­si­tion plan that we agreed to with our coali­tion part­ners in Lis­bon,” Oba­ma said.

The Unit­ed King­dom will not give up on Afghanistan, Cameron said. “We won’t build a per­fect Afghanistan, although let’s be clear: We are mak­ing some tan­gi­ble progress with more mar­kets open, more health cen­ters work­ing, more chil­dren going to school, more peo­ple able to achieve a basic stan­dard of liv­ing and secu­ri­ty,” the prime min­is­ter said. “But we can help ensure that Afghanistan is capa­ble of deliv­er­ing its own secu­ri­ty with­out the need for large num­bers of for­eign troops.”

The two men dis­cussed the next phase of tran­si­tion, which will be a focus of part of the NATO Sum­mit in Chica­go in May. “This includes shift­ing to a sup­port role next year in 2013 in advance of Afghans tak­ing full respon­si­bil­i­ty in 2014,” Oba­ma said. “We’re going to com­plete this mis­sion, and we’re going to do it respon­si­bly.”

Cameron said the coali­tion in Afghanistan is in the final phas­es of the mil­i­tary mis­sion. “That means com­plet­ing the train­ing of the Afghan forces so that they can take over the tasks of main­tain­ing secu­ri­ty them­selves,” he said. “We won’t be in a com­bat role after 2014. At the same time we will also back [Afghan] Pres­i­dent [Hamid] Karzai in work­ing towards an Afghan-led polit­i­cal set­tle­ment.”

The pres­i­dent stressed there will con­tin­ue to be chal­lenges, but he does not expect any sud­den changes in the coali­tion draw­down in Afghanistan. The Unit­ed States already has with­drawn 10,000 troops and will with­draw anoth­er 23,000 by the end of the sum­mer.

“There will be a robust coali­tion pres­ence inside of Afghanistan dur­ing this fight­ing sea­son to make sure that the Tal­iban under­stand that they’re not going to be able to regain momen­tum,” Oba­ma said.

After the fight­ing sea­son, coali­tion lead­ers will look to tran­si­tion in a way that grad­u­al­ly trans­fers respon­si­bil­i­ty for the whole coun­try to Afghan gov­ern­ment forces.

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →