Obama’s Afghanistan Address – A Summary December 2, 2009Posted by Rebecca Williams in Analysis.
Articles, commentary and op-eds about President Obama’s Afghan speech were seemingly ubiquitous in this morning’s news frenzy. In last night’s address, President Obama outlined US strategy for Afghanistan, announcing the deployment of an additional 30,000 troops that, after 18 months, will begin to return home. The estimated costs associated with this additional troop deployment are estimated at $1 billion per 1,000 soldiers, or roughly $30 billion.
Given the explosion of reaction, it is easy to get lost in the political debate that surrounds such an announcement. Summarized below, however, is the actual framework the President offered for the new way forward in Afghanistan. Fundamentally, the broad parameters set by the President give the general public an idea of the goals, objectives and priorities of the administration, but they are just that: broad.
The President defined the overarching goal in the region as disrupting, dismantling, and defeating al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and preventing its capacity to threaten America and its allies in the future.
To achieve this goal, President Obama offered three objectives from within Afghanistan:
- Deny al Qaeda a safe haven
- Reverse the Taliban’s momentum and deny it the ability to overthrow the government
- Strengthen the capacity of Afghanistan’s security forces and government
President Obama stated that to accomplish these objectives, the US will:
- Increase troop levels in Afghanistan by an additional 30,000 troops which will target the insurgency and secure key population centers, and train and equip Afghan security forces.
- Peruse a more effective civilian strategy by working with partner and allied nations and the Afghan people.
- Strengthen US partnership with Pakistan by providing resources to improve Pakistan’s ability to fight extremists and support Pakistan’s democracy and development.