Military alone can't solve Afghan problem: Obama
Taking the first significant move towards US’ South Asia policy, President Barack Obama has sanctioned deployment of 17,000 troops to Afghanistan but simultaneously said the Afghan problem can not be resolved by military alone as the war-torn country needs both diplomacy and development to get rid of it.
Moments after Obama accepted his Commander’s month-long request for increasing troops, Defence Minister Robert Gates announced to deploy about 12,000 troops in Afghanistan. Of which, 8,000 Marine brigade are expected to go first followed by about 9,000 Army brigade. To strengthen these forces, 5,000 additional troops would be sent later. With this the total American presence in Afghanistan would be around 50,000.
Obama said the reinforcement of American troops is necessary to stabilize deteriorating situation in Afghanistan and will help provide security to people, but admitted, “I am absolutely convinced that you can not solve the problem of Afghanistan, the Taliban, the spread of extremism in that region solely through military means.” The US president said it in an interview to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
He said Afghanistan did not receive the strategic attention, direction and resources it urgently required, a complete reversal to his predecessor George Bush, whom Obama has accused of slighting urgent national security needs in Afghanistan in favour of war in Iraq.
Moreover, Obama during the campaign had argued that America needed to shift its focus from Iraq to Afghanistan, as he believes the main threat to the United States comes from the safe haven of the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The “responsibly draw down” of forces from Iraq gives him the flexibility to raise US' presence in Afghanistan. “This reinforcement will contribute to the security of the Afghan people and to stability in Afghanistan,” Obama said.
Obama said the reinforcement does not pre-determine the outcome of a broader strategic review of the entire policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan that he ordered soon after assuming office.
“Instead, it will further enable our team to put together a comprehensive strategy that will employ all elements of our national power to fulfill achievable goals in Afghanistan,” he said.
“As we develop our new strategic goals, we will do so in concert with our friends and allies as together we seek the resources necessary to succeed.”
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