Monday, November 20, 2017

Afghanistan turmoil won't change war plan, U.S. officials say

RECOMMENDED READING


WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is sticking to its stay-the-course message in Afghanistan despite a week of anti-American riots, the killing of two U.S. military advisers and growing election-year demands to bring the troops home.

In an echo of the Bush administration on continuing the unpopular war in Iraq, the White House and Pentagon insisted Monday that the wave of violence against Americans will not derail the war strategy in Afghanistan or speed up the calendar for bringing American forces home.

"We work alongside thousands of Afghans every single day to ensure a better future for the Afghan people. And nothing that has happened over the past week is going to deter us from that goal," Pentagon spokesman George Little said. "We're making progress. We have put the enemy on its heels in many parts of the country."

But the perception that Afghans are ungrateful for U.S. sacrifice and are turning on their American advisers complicates President Barack Obama's plan to ease out of combat against the Taliban over the next two years.

Under current strategy, tens of thousands of U.S. forces will remain in Afghanistan at least through the end of this year and Afghan forces would have full control of the country's security by the end of 2014. Both Democrats and Republicans have said the timetable should move up.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the violence will not mean faster troop withdrawal. He pointed to Obama's rationale for expanding the war early in his presidency.

"The No. 1 priority, the reason why U.S. troops are in Afghanistan in the first place, is to disrupt, dismantle and ultimately, ultimately defeat al-Qaida," Carney said.

Administration officials said they believe Afghan President Hamid Karzai's fragile government could collapse and the Taliban would regain power if the United States were to walk away.

A Pew Research Center poll indicates that more than half, 56 percent, of Americans want troops removed from Afghanistan as soon as possible, while just 38 percent believe the U.S. should stay until Afghanistan is stabilized. The poll was taken just before Obama's State of the Union address in late January.

Sen. Dick Durbin, a leader in the Senate, said Monday the United States should move faster to bring forces home now.

"The sooner the better," Durbin said on MSNBC. "The president is right to start bringing the troops home. I would say to him: Do it more quickly."

Although a military spokesman said protests over the mistaken U.S. burning of copies of the Koran last week are ebbing, the depth of anger at U.S. forces was evident in a suicide bombing at one base and the possible attempted poisoning of U.S. soldiers by a kitchen worker at another.

More than 30 people have died in clashes since it became known last week that copies of the Koran, the Muslim holy book, and other religious materials were thrown into a fire pit used to burn garbage at a U.S. base near Kabul.

Comments

AP Interview: Trump's ex-staffer Scaramucci visits Israel

AP Interview: Washington may not have seen the last of 'The Mooch' as he plans role in Trump's re-election campaign
Updated: 7 minutes ago

AP Interview: Trump's ex-staffer Scaramucci visits Israel

AP Interview: Washington may not have seen the last of 'The Mooch' as he plans role in Trump's re-election campaign
Updated: 7 minutes ago
What you need to know for Monday, Nov. 20

What you need to know for Monday, Nov. 20

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.10News WTSPThe latest 7-day forecast• We should see overnight lows in the mid-40s recovering to the mid 70s Monday afternoon. That’s thanks to lots of sunshine, according to 10...
Updated: 11 minutes ago
Former Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna dies at 49

Former Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna dies at 49

The WTA says 1998 Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna of the Czech Republic has died at 49
Updated: 11 minutes ago
Charles Manson, cult leader of gory killings in 1969, has died

Charles Manson, cult leader of gory killings in 1969, has died

LOS ANGELES — Cult leader Charles Manson, whose followers killed actress Sharon Tate and six others in 1969, died Sunday night. He was 83. A spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections said Manson died of natural causes. The gory slaying...
Updated: 14 minutes ago
Figure known as 'Crocodile' could replace Zimbabwe president

Figure known as 'Crocodile' could replace Zimbabwe president

Figure known as the 'Crocodile' could replace longtime president of Zimbabwe
Updated: 16 minutes ago
The Latest: Center-left: Germany in difficult situation

The Latest: Center-left: Germany in difficult situation

Germany's main center-left party says the parties that failed to form a new government have put the country "in a difficult situation."
Updated: 16 minutes ago

Iran's supreme leader visits quake-hit area, urges more aid

Iran's supreme leader visits quake-hit region along border with Iraq, urges more aid for those affected by the tragedy
Updated: 23 minutes ago
Zimbabwe's political drama: What just happened? A timeline

Zimbabwe's political drama: What just happened? A timeline

Zimbabwe's political drama: What just happened? A timeline of events
Updated: 23 minutes ago
3- 2-1, BAM! Georgia Dome set for implosion

3- 2-1, BAM! Georgia Dome set for implosion

One of the nation's largest domed stadiums is set for implosion at 7:30 a.m
Updated: 24 minutes ago