Extremists in Afghanistan and Pakistan continue to pose a threat to the United States, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Europe, Australia, and nations of the Middle East. To counter this threat, President Barack Obama announced a new strategy aimed at disrupting, dismantling, and defeating violent extremists who threaten the U.S. and our friends across the globe.
Seventeen thousand U.S. military personnel are being deployed to Afghanistan to join the 38,000 U.S. troops already there. In addition, President Obama is ordering 4,000 more U.S. troops to act as trainers for the Afghan army.
"We will shift the emphasis of our mission to training and increasing the size of the Afghan security forces, so that they can eventually take the lead in securing their country," said President Obama. "For the first time, this will fully resource our effort to train and support the Afghan army and police," he said.
In a White Paper released March 27, the White House identified some key objectives of U.S. national security policy. These include: disrupting terrorist networks in Afghanistan and especially Pakistan to degrade their ability to plan and launch international terrorist attacks; promoting a more capable, accountable, and effective government in Afghanistan that serves the Afghan people and can eventually function, especially regarding internal security, with limited international support; developing increasingly self-reliant Afghan security forces that can lead the counterinsurgency and counterterrorism fight with reduced U.S. assistance; assisting efforts to enhance civilian control and stable constitutional government in Pakistan and a vibrant economy that provides opportunity for the people of Pakistan.
These are daunting tasks. And as President Obama noted, the United States cannot accomplish these objectives alone. "The world cannot afford the price that will come due if Afghanistan slides back into chaos or al-Qaida operates unchecked," said President Obama. "We have a shared responsibility to act," he said.