All Articles Tagged "Afghanistan"
President Obama announced today that the longest conflict in American history — the war in Afghanistan — will begin winding down with only 9,800 troops remaining after withdrawals later this year, the point at which the conflict will officially end. By 2016, even fewer troops will remain in the country.
“Obama’s decision is largely in line with what military commanders have been seeking and would allow the president to fully end the American-led military effort by the time he leaves office,” says the AP.
There are currently 32,000 US troops in Afghanistan. This new plan is dependent on Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s approval of the Bilateral Security Agreement, which he hasn’t given. However, a new president will be elected, and officials believe either candidate will likely support the move, which will continue to provide legal protection for our troops there.
In his remarks today from the Rose Garden at the White House, President Obama called this the “responsible end” to the war and a “new chapter in American foreign policy” that will allow those resources — both men and money — to be used for other things. At one point, there were as many as 100,000 troops in Afghanistan. We’ve been in that country for 13 years.
The 9,800 remaining troops will focus on counterterrorism and training for Afghan troops. Fewer than 1,000 will remain by the end of 2016, working in a Kabul security office.
The President is giving the commencement speech at West Point Military Academy tomorrow and is expected to give even more detail about the plan.
Over the weekend, President Obama made a trip to Afghanistan to visit the troops. And yesterday, during a Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, he said, “By the end of this year, our war in Afghanistan will finally come to an end.”
Sheila Moore is a proud Marine and mother of two girls who has done two tours in Afghanistan, and is currently an Aviation Supply Specialist. Sheila talked with MadameNoire about her experience in the Marines, the strength she drew from her service, and how she balances military life and motherhood.
Why did you join the Marine Corp?
Recruiters reached out to me in high school when I had no military experience and it was hard, but I listened and paid attention. It was a learning experience. I take with me everything I have learned and I can do anything now because I am a Marine.
What leadership skills have you developed as a result of your service?
Through the marines, I have learned how to always seek self-improvement, and the importance of learning something new everyday. I Learned to look out for others, instead of just myself. One must always set the example for others to follow.
How old are your daughters and how do you balance life as a Marine and mother?
My daughters are 10 and 11 now. I’ve received a great deal of help with family care from my unit. The support of my marine family, the family readiness officer, and me managing my time well has allowed me to both be a good mom and a good marine.
How long were you deployed in Afghanistan and how did you handle being away from your family during that time?
The first time I was gone for ten months, the second time my deployment was three months. At the time, my youngest had just turned one and it was hard. The first time was much harder because of the extended amount of time I had to spend away from my family. It was hard not seeing my kids everyday, as well as being in danger. I experienced rocket attacks during my tours but thankfully made it home safely.
How do you instill the importance of education and community service in your daughters?
I instill those qualities through leading by example. My daughters see me reading books for school, do my own homework, and watch the news. I participate in toys for tots, and take the girls with me to basketball camp on weekends so they understand the importance of giving back.
What makes you most proud of being a Marine?
Just to say that I am one. Everyone didn’t go through that twelve weeks of training. Everyone cant say that and no one can take that away from me.I am blessed to have gone. I am much more decisive in how I proceed through life because of my experiences in the service. The friends I have gained throughout the years…I have friends all over the world. I could go to any state, and know a fellow marine. We take care of one another.
Why should more Black women consider joining the service?
Black women are strong in general. If they can get through what we have [as a people], they can get through boot camp. The sisterhood that one builds in the marine corp is a powerful thing. I have learned that I can do anything.
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We’ve already talked about it. President Obama had an off night the other day during the first Presidential debate. Some claim he was tired or too focused on his anniversary. President Obama said that he was just too polite. Based on President Obama’s performance and Joe Biden’s penchant for being more outspoken than a little bit, we knew that this debate was going to be a very different story. And this time we weren’t disappointed. From the opening minutes of the debate it was clear that Joe Biden did not come to play. We wanted to interact with our Facebook and Twitter followers during this debate. So here’s what they had to say throughout the night.
MN: Who is watching the debate? Vice President Joe Biden has already proven he’s going to be more forceful than President Obama. He’s just laughing at these jokers!
But one of our Facebook followers had an interesting viewpoint, saying that Joe Biden is able to speak candidly and aggressively because, unlike President Obama, he doesn’t have to worry about negative stereotypes being assigned to his performance.
This is very true and an interesting concept. As the president of the United States, do you think that President Obama is still living his life and running this country with the fear that unfair and racist stereotypes could cost him an election? It’s plausible but for his sake, I hope unlikely. I do honestly believe that it was an off night mixed with the fairness and diplomacy he’s tried to rule the country with.
If, for some reason you missed the debate here are some of the highlights we tweeted. Obviously, we’re President Obama supporters, so our tweets are a little skewed.
From jump Joe Biden came in attacking both Paul Ryan’s and Mitt Romney’s flip flopping and less than concrete plans.
Then when the moderator, Martha Raddatz asked about foreign policy, here’s the takeaway point Joe Biden made.
But don’t think that Joe was the only one making biting comments. Paul Ryan checked Vice President Biden with a quip no one could disagree with.
Woop! But Joe Biden wasn’t letting Paul Ryan get away with anything, he made sure to respond saying, “But I always say what I mean.” Then he had his own jab for Romney and Ryan. He made sure to mention the 47 percent and then hit him with this zinger.
Aside from Biden and Ryan we also noted that moderator Martha Raddatz was not having the same foolishness that Jim Lehrer suffered from in the first presidential debate. (Does anyone else feel sorry for Jim?) There were times when Paul Ryan was close to going over his allotted time and several times when Joe Biden was hellbent on interrupting anyone who was speaking. But for the most part Martha kept both candidates in check.
When the debate shifted to foreign policy the two Vice Presidential candidates spent a significant amount of time talking about the war in Afghanistan and the next moves.
Paul Ryan argued that he and Mitt Romney were not willing to commit to a 2014 pull out date because they didn’t know how stable the Afghan government would be without American assistance. But Biden was adamant about U.S. troops leaving to give Afghans a chance to rule their own country.
Joe Biden had a crunkness about him throughout a majority of the debate until it came to the social/moral issue of Catholicism and abortion. It would be hard for anyone to argue that Biden didn’t win on the argument of women’s rights.
Those were some of the highlights we noted. What other moments did you notice from the debates? Did you feel Biden was the clear winner or was it pretty much a draw?
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By Charlotte Young
With the help of several business support initiatives, Afghan women are taking on entrepreneurial dreams and creating a niche for themselves.
Of those initiatives, one of their top supporters is Peace Dividend Trust. “The untold story in Afghanistan is the rise of female entrepreneurs,” Executive Director Scott Gilmore tells Forbes.
“They are turning into a powerful force for growth and stability.”
Peace Dividend Trust works with Afghan entrepreneurs to match them to local market opportunities. In its latest study, it counted 242 women-owned companies in its national database of nearly 7,000 Afghan companies. Three to five new women-owned ventures join its registry each month.
But female entrepreneurs in Afghanistan are exceling beyond the framework of Peace Dividend Trust. For women in Afghanistan, “Bpeace” stands for hope, support and future. Started in 2002, this non-profit has about 300 professional business volunteers working to bring job creation and financial stability to communities torn apart by war and conflict. According to Forbes, the organization uses a strategy that involves “pro-bono skilled consulting” for “high-potential small business owners” or “Fast Runners” in economically ready sectors. Its work and dedication has been able to create one million jobs throughout 1,000 communities across several countries.
One of its successful business ventures brought two Afghan soccer ball manufacturers together creating financial gains for the 430 Afghan women who hand stitch the balls.
In addition to its work in Afghanistan, Bpeace is also making ground in Rwanda and El Salvador. In Rwanda, after 14 of its “Fast Runners” graduated from the three year program in 2009, communities in the country began to see restaurants, retail shops and landscaping businesses spring up. Graduates were even able to create an amusement park. These new businesses together employ about 168 Rwandans whose financial earnings support 746 family members.
The US’s support of Bpeace brought nine male and female entrepreneurs to the US last year. These entrepreneurs were able to apprentice and gain knowledge from 37 US businesses, including Microsoft and Redmond Minerals.
(Washington Post) — President Obama charted a middle course Wednesday for ending the U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan, outlining a departure plan that will remove troops faster than his commanders had requested but more slowly than many of his political allies would like. In a prime-time address from the White House, Obama said he will bring home 10,000 U.S. troops by the end of the year and 23,000 more by next summer, a withdrawal window that will conclude two months before voters decide whether to give him a second term. The first troops will leave Afghanistan next month. “Tonight,” the president said from the East Room, “we take comfort in knowing that the tide of war is receding.” In contrast to his 2009 decision to send additional forces to Afghanistan, Obama appeared to give greater weight this time to the growing impatience of a war-weary public and a skeptical Congress, whose members have been demanding a rapid drawdown and a narrower mission after nearly a decade of battle.
It’s a question many have speculated about before, especially in the wake of the Wisconsin protests that have gone on for months. However, those protests have mostly been limited to Wisconsin and have yet to inspire the masses to take their grievances to the nation’s capital—that is until now, or should I say four months from now. In October, thousands, if not more, are expected to stand outside the White House and demand that our troops be brought home. The protest is expected to last not just for a day, but for as long as it takes until the protestors’ demands regarding the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan, among other things, are met.
According to published reports, a plaza two blocks from the White House is being envisioned as a U.S. version of Tahrir Square where thousands of citizens will engage in ongoing, nonviolent protests. The start of this alleged U.S. uprising would begin on October 6th 2011, which also marks the 10th anniversary of the start of the war in Afghanistan.
A group of prominent activists and grassroots organizations are said to be behind the upcoming protests, and have started a website to solicit at least 50,000 individuals to camp out at the nation’s capital for as long as it takes. So far, the guest list for this event reads like a who’s who of progressive activism, including Cornel West, Bill Moyer and Glen Ford of The Black Agenda Report. Initially, the goal of the protest was to call for the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, but the coalition will add more demands that relate to social, economic and environmental justice.
Clearly, this planned movement has been inspired by similar social and political movements that have been happening in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as Europe on a lesser scale. But in America, how likely is the possibility that ordinary people will take up the call for action since these sorts of radical political and social change movements seemed to have died out sometime in the ‘60s. For a movement to have the desired impact, there needs to be a commitment from the average Joe and Jane who are willing to give up a day—or several days of work—and come together for the common good.
The climate is certainly right for an uprising of sorts considering the number of issues that are affecting the general public. Most Americans agree that the troops should be withdrawn from Afghanistan immediately, and six in 10 Americans think that the “humanitarian efforts” in Libya was a bad idea. Moreover, unionized workers are suffering from efforts to strip away collective bargaining and in some cases, are finding their efforts to organize under the scrutiny of the Justice Department. Cities and municipalities around the country have to decide between balancing budgets and keeping schools open. The rich got tax cuts and bailouts while millions of middle class and poor citizens lost their homes. Then of course there is the growing concern over a possible student loan bubble and the stagnation of the job market.
It would appear that whatever hope we had for a brighter future just might be spiraling into a cycle of cynicism and hopelessness. However, certain destructive and divisive policies, such as woman’s reproductive rights, gay marriage and yes, even race, have only seem to act as a wedge preventing people from coming together. This division has enabled our lame duck leadership to manipulate support and keep their powerful positions in tact – even as their constituency continues to suffer.
At some point the American people are going to say enough. They are going to rebel. Now will that day be today, in October or even next October? If Wisconsin is an indication, then we might be heading down that road. The time has certainly come for people to take to the streets and demand that their grievances be addressed. If all goes as planned it may not be an Arab Spring but it could turn into a U.S. Fall.
Charing Ball is the author of the blog People, Places & Things.
She’s a Hot celebrity with millions of fans, including U.S. President Barack Obama…now, she the Afghan Oprah?
There are three branches of government. You learn them in grade school: executive, legislative and judicial.
What you don’t learn is that when one of those branches gets occupied by a black president, the other two branches rip him to shreds like he’s Cinderella.
(MotherJones.com) — If you’re an average American taxpayer, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have, since 2001, cost you personally $7,334, according to the “cost of war” counter created by the National Priorities Project (NPP). They have cost all Americans collectively more than $980,000,000,000. As a country, we’ll pass the trillion dollar mark soon. These are staggering figures and, despite the $72.3 billion that Congress has already ponied up for the Afghan War in 2010 ($136.8 billion if you add in Iraq), the administration is about to go back to Congress for more than $35 billion in outside-the-budget supplemental funds to cover the president’s military and civilian Afghan surges.
(CNN) — President Obama is expected to return to the United States on Monday morning after a surprise visit to Afghanistan, where he met with his Afghan counterpart and reiterated the need to wipe out terror networks.