Obama: Afghanistan War ‘Difficult Endeavor,’ But ‘Significant Progress’ Made
December 16, 2010
(ChattahBox US News)—President Obama announced the results today, from an annual review of our efforts in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban insurgents and battling al-Qaeda forces in the mountainous border of Pakistan. Obama was cautious in his statements, saying “This continues to be a very difficult endeavor,” while at the same time extolling “significant progress” being made in the core mission of “disrupting, dismantling and defeating al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and preventing its capacity to threaten America and our allies in the future.” But the big takeaway is that the planned troop drawdown will take place as planned in July 2011, but the specifics are a bit hazy. And considering the corruption of the Karzai government, it can’t happen fast enough.
Obama, said in his statement that al-Qaeda fighters are now “hunkered down” because of U.S. military efforts.
“In pursuit of our core goal we are seeing significant progress. Today, al Qaeda’s senior leadership in the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan is under more pressure than at any point since they fled Afghanistan nine years ago. Senior leaders have been killed. It’s harder for them to recruit; it’s harder for them to travel; it’s harder for them to train; it’s harder for them to plot and launch attacks. In short, al Qaeda is hunkered down. It will take time to ultimately defeat al Qaeda, and it remains a ruthless and resilient enemy bent on attacking our country. But make no mistake — we are going to remain relentless in disrupting and dismantling that terrorist organization.”
But at the same time, the President admitted that the military gains made against the Taliban insurgents are “fragile and reversible.”
The White House is committed to sending troops home next summer, but according to the report, the size of the drawdown is still up in the air.
“As a result of our integrated efforts in 2010,” the report said, “we are setting the conditions to begin transition to Afghan security lead in early 2011 and to begin a responsible, conditions-based U.S. troop reduction in July 2011.”
As pointed out by the Washington Post, the report draws broad conclusions, without providing supporting data.
“The overview of the long-awaited report contained no specifics or data to back up its conclusions. The actual assessment document is classified and will not be made public, according to an administration official who said that interested members of Congress would be briefed on it in January.”
“Obama appeared before reporters Thursday to announce the results of the review, which was compiled from reports submitted by military, diplomatic and intelligence officials since mid-October. Flanking him at the White House briefing were Vice President Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Marine Gen. James E. Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.”
A Washington Post-ABC News poll released today finds that 60 percent of those polled, say say the war in Afghanistan “is not worth fighting.”
Photo Source: White House Photo by Pete Souza