Entries in General David Petraeus (4)


Speaker Boehner Meets with Karzai, Petraeus in Afghanistan

ABC News (file)(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Speaker John Boehner and the congressional delegation (CODEL) visited Afghanistan on Tuesday and Wednesday, continuing the tour that began in Iraq on Saturday. The delegation met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and General David Petraeus, among other military leaders, officials and diplomats.

The office of the speaker says the delegation’s visit “comes as the Obama Administration has stated it will begin drawing down troops in July despite concerns about whether sufficient progress has been made in turning around the security environment, training Afghanistan’s security forces, and working with the Afghan government to improve its delivery of security and services to the Afghan people.”

“We must remain steadfast in our commitment to the counterinsurgency strategy our commanders on the ground have put in place and to ensuring its success, rather than focusing on meeting arbitrary deadlines for withdrawal,” Boehner said in a statement Wednesday. “Any drawdown of U.S. troops must be based on the conditions on the ground, not on political calculations.  If the Obama Administration insists on beginning to draw down troops in July, it must explain how the pace and scope of such a move will not undermine the tenuous progress we’ve made thus far.  To date, it has not done so.”

During the two-day visit to Afghanistan, the six-member delegation received updates from Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. and international military forces; U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry; Lt. General David Rodriguez, the commander of NATO-International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Joint Command; Lt. General Bill Caldwell, the commander of NATO Training Mission -- Afghanistan; U.S. Embassy – Kabul senior diplomats; the commanders and senior civilian representatives in Regional Command – East, Regional Command – South, and Regional Command – Southwest; and U.S. troops from the Members’ home states.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Gen. Petraeus Reveals Son Fought in Afghanistan

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Overshadowed in the congressional testimony given by Gen. David Petraeus this week was a small, personal bombshell the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan dropped on lawmakers.

With members of a House Armed Services Committee pressing the general on just how long U.S. forces will serve in the war, Petraeus let it be known that his son, Stephen, had recently wrapped up a combat tour in Afghanistan as an infantry platoon leader.

Lt. Stephen Petraeus is currently a member of Alpha Company, 3rd Platoon, 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team.

The reality was revealed when Republican Rep. Walter B. Jones of North Carolina speculated that American forces may stay in Afghanistan well past the 2014 deadline to hand over security responsibilities to Afghan forces, adding, "You know, 15, 16, 17 years, for God sakes, how much more can we take, how much more can we give treasure and blood?"

Petraeus then talked about his son and his personal stake in making sure the U.S. achieves victory.  He also said he would be honest with the president and Pentagon leaders "if I ever felt that we couldn't achieve our objectives."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Petraeus: Progress in Afghanistan 'Fragile and Reversible'

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan acknowledged Tuesday that security in the war-torn country is still fragile and warned that it would be unwise to abandon the mission, despite the U.S. public's record-high opposition to the war. Speaking to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gen. David Petraeus said "much difficult work lies ahead with our Afghan partners" to expand gains achieved in the past year.

"As a bottom line up front, it is ISAF's [International Security Assistance Force] assessment that the momentum achieved by the Taliban in Afghanistan since 2005 has been arrested in much of the country and reversed in a number of important areas," Petraeus said in his first congressional appearance since he took command last summer.

"However, while the security progress achieved over the past year is significant, it is also fragile and reversible."

Public support for the war in Afghanistan has dropped sharply in recent months amid domestic economic and employment woes. Thirty-one percent now say the war in Afghanistan has been worth fighting, a new low, 64 percent say it's not worth fighting, and 49 percent feel that way "strongly," according to an ABC News-Washington Post poll released Tuesday. The latter numbers are both record highs in the poll.

A January report had painted a gloomy picture of the war in Afghanistan, the longest in U.S. history. Attacks by insurgents have increased by two-thirds above already record levels in 2009, the "highest annual growth rate we have recorded," the Afghanistan NGO Safety Office said, adding that "their momentum would appear unaffected by U.S.-led counterinsurgency measures." The report argued that the White House and the U.S. military's claims of success are overstated.

Now, the onset of spring has once again elevated concerns about a Taliban resurgence, especially from safe havens on the border with Pakistan. With the spring thaw tradtionally comes a spring offensive from the militant group. And with public opposition escalating to a new record, even supporters of the war are viewing the situation with caution.

President Obama has committed to a draw-down of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, starting July, and transitioning security responsibilities to Afghan forces. Petraeus on Tuesday said he supports that plan and will present his options and recommendations to the president on how to go about reducing the number of troops.

But that could be a significant challenge in itself. As ABC News reported Monday, field commanders in Afghanistan are asking for more troops and are openly challenging the wisdom of withdrawing any U.S. forces by the July 11 date set by the administration.

Some lawmakers plan to draft a resolution calling on the president to withdraw all U.S. forces from Afghanistan no later than Dec. 31, 2011, but that's likely to fail, as it has in the past. Critics claim Obama's date -- or any date certain for a withdrawal -- will only cause the enemy to retreat and wait out the U.S. presence there.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Gates, Petraeus Joke About Launching Attack on Libya

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- After Secretary of Defense Robert Gates arrived at Kabul Airport Monday where he was greeted by General David Petraeus, microphones picked up the two men joking about launching an attack on Libya.

Petraeus and Gates shook hands after Gates arrived on his 13th trip to Afghanistan as Secretary of Defense.

"Welcome back, sir," Petraeus said to Gates. The two men began walking, and Patreus was overheard joking: "You returning to normal, you gonna launch some attacks on Libya or something?" 

"Yeah, exactly," Gates replied in jest.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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