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Questions On Afghanistan

  • March 25th, 2009
  • Posted by 7thmin

obama-wikimediaorg-reduced.jpgWhatever questions there might have been to answer, and Barak Obama answered questions from 13 reporters, nothing was given out on the future of the armed incursion into Afghanistan, when the President faced the press.

In the meantime, three more Australians were hurt in the continued fighting there.

WHAT’S COMING?

Barak Obama spoke for nearly an hour at the second televised media conference of his Presidency (25.3.09 in Australia), concentrating on his plans for managing the economic crisis at home.

There has been speculation that a new policy outline on Afghanistan will be made public by Friday, but little sign of that earlier when Mr Obama met the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd.

Then, he spoke of persisting with the long war, to keep international order and protect the homeland.

“We can’t allow vicious killers to have their way,” he said.

Talk of a change in emphasis emerged when President Obama  began speaking of a more “focused and disciplined approach”, and  told CBS television last Sunday:  “There’s got to be an exit strategy…There’s got to be a sense that this is not perpetual drift.”

America has committed an addition al 17000 troops to the fighting this year, with 30000 already there.

PRESSURE ON THE EUROPEANS

nato-flags.jpgIts pressure on European allies to increase their contributions has included visits from the Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, and Vice President Joseph Biden – though both definitely in a consultative frame of mind.

Ms Clinton went to NATO headquarters in Brussels (6.3.09) to call for a regional summit on Afghanistan, which she said might include Iran.

She also backed an amelioration of relations between the Atlantic alliance and Russia, and told a youth forum at the European Parliament, the United States planned to be less confrontationist than under the Bush Administration.

It would work to “wipe away misunderstandings”, she said; it was not possible to get the best out relationships with partners, by “trying to direct the debate”.

Earlier Mr Biden recalled that the September 11 attack on New York had been planned in Afghanistan, under the Taliban regime; while passing on a message that Mr Obama wanted to consult the allies on new strategies for the region.

Notions for such new strategies put forward by Kevin Rudd and others have included a consolidation of effort, and money, to build up the Afghan armed forces and police.

MORE AUSTRALIAN CASUALTIES

On Wednesday in Afghanistan (24.3.09) three Australian soldiers and an interpreter were seriously injured by a bomb during action against Taliban forces in the area around Tarin Kowt.

afghanistan-australia-flag.jpgOne soldier and the interpreter were sent to hospital at Kandahar for surgery.

Last week two Australians were killed, bringing the country’s death toll in the campaign to ten, (see EUAustralia, “Australian deaths …”, 22.3.09).

Reference:

“Clinton in Brussels: ties that bind”, European Voice, Brussels, 5.3.09, p8

Toby Harnden, “Barack Obama: US needs Afghanistan exit strategy”, Telegraph, Washington, 23.3.09. www.telegraph.co.uk, (25.3.09).

Defence Department – Australia, Canberra, “Australian soldiers wounded in Afghanistan”, Media Release, 25.3.09. www.defence.gov.au, (25.3.09).

Pictures:

Barak Obama – Wikimedia ; NATO headquarters Brussels; Australian forces in Afghanistan – ADF image.

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