February 18th, 2009
07:20 AM ET
9 years ago

Obama: Troops alone cannot win in Afghanistan

President Obama says al Qaeda threatens American from the Afghan-Pakistani border.

President Obama says al Qaeda threatens American from the Afghan-Pakistani border.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Diplomacy will play a bigger role in U.S. efforts in Afghanistan in future even as the Pentagon announced a significant troop increase, President Barack Obama said Tuesday in an interview on Canadian television.

"I am absolutely convinced that you cannot solve the problem of Afghanistan, the Taliban, the spread of extremism in that region solely through military means," Obama told journalist Peter Mansbridge as part of a wide-ranging interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. "We're going to have to use diplomacy. We're going to have to use development."

The Pentagon said Tuesday that Obama had approved a significant troop increase for Afghanistan, which is expected to include 8,000 Marines and 4,000 Army troops. An additional 5,000 troops will be deployed at a later date to support combat forces, bringing the total to 17,000, the Defense Department said later in the day.

Canada has about 2,800 troops in Afghanistan, but parliament has voted to pull them out by 2011. Obama suggested he will take up the issue with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper when the two meet Thursday in Ottawa.

"My hope is that in conversations that I have with Prime Minister Harper, that he and I end up seeing the importance of a comprehensive strategy, and one that ultimately the people of Canada can support, as well as the people of the United States can support," Obama said.

The White House is reviewing America's strategy in Afghanistan, according to the president, who said the situation "appears to be deteriorating."

Full story

Filed under: Afghanistan • President Obama
soundoff (103 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    @ bill

    Stop at nothing to keep the public confused eh? Obama promised to pull the troops out of Iraq and ramp up our efforts to find and capture or kill bin Laden. Maybe this is part of the problem. Bush had you GOPers so mixed up as to where the terrorists were located and how to defeat them that you have now confused Obama's crystal clear statements about his intentions for Iraq and Afghanistan.


    February 18, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  2. Sniffit

    @ gt

    Translation: We GOPers are scared Obama may succeed where Bush quite obviously and horrifically failed.

    February 18, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  3. Rick


    Because we know the current administration wont.

    February 18, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  4. Rick


    Because we know the current administration wont.

    February 18, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  5. Afghan is a lost cause

    Obama says we cann win there militarily he is right. So why are sending in more troops?

    Obama says diplomancy is needed. This is a non starter with the Taliban, Al Quaeda, Tribal Leaders, and the elected government. There are too many parties with too many irreconciable differences. It will take 200 years to scratch the surgace.

    Obama says Development is needed? This is history repeating itself. When the US helped Osama Bib Laden defeat the Russians (yes, that is correct, Osama), we left after the Russians left and the Taliban took over. THere is not enough money in the US Treasury to "adopt" afghanistan and all its corrupt sects. The country is 100 times more corrput than Iraq. TO give them any money is DUMB DUMB DUMB.

    We shoud just withdraw .. and practice containment. Afghan is one of those limitless pits that will gobble up lives and money with no results. This is NOT where the US wants to be - GET OUT

    February 18, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  6. Rick


    February 18, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  7. earl connerly

    Aw, listen to the man. Like he knows. He said the same thing about Iraq but we won there despite his criticisms. He really doesn't know a thing about anything except talking pretty.

    February 18, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  8. Beverly, NYC

    Afghanistan isn't Iraq, diplomacy is the only way to win here, their neighbors ( Pakistan, Iran) must also get involved since they will live with the results after we are long gone.

    February 18, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  9. felix

    Obama invented diplomacy didn't you know?

    February 18, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  10. Mark

    Im sure the media will praise Obama's war escalation

    February 18, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  11. Evans Hollern

    So, what's your end-game plan, Obomber? You really don't have one, do you?

    February 18, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  12. Lynn

    Maybe now John McCain will tell President Obama where bin Laden is as he claimed he knew throughout his losing campaign.

    February 18, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  13. Sam Sixpack

    Sound bite: "Troops alone cannot win in Afghanistan"

    Translation: "When do I get another trillion dollars?"

    February 18, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  14. Maggie

    Okay, let's try it this way.

    Afghanistan/Pakistan – that's where Bin Laden is. He's a bad guy who murders innocent people by having his people hijack planes and crash them into buildings or put explosives around them and walk into a crowded area or drive cars full of explosives into garages.

    Iraq – they weren't involved with 9/11. Yes, they had a dictator that needed removing, but it wasn't the responsibility of the US to go in there all by our onesies and do it ourselves. It should have been the Iraqi people asking the UN for help, and then the world stops a murdering, savage dictator who actually admired Hitler.

    Uh, why did we invade a country like Iraq, a country we weren't at war with?

    Right. Bush's lies about WMDs. Gotta remember that.

    February 18, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |

    This is not the CRUSADES. We live in the 21st century, not the 11th century. For those of you that don't know what that means, you are stupid! For those that understand, you know!

    February 18, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  16. Tina, NC

    Once again we must ask the morons on this blog, WHERE WERE YOU DURING THE CAMPAIGN????????? Apparently too mesmerized by Palin and McCain's hate speech too pay attention to the different candidates views on the ISSUES.

    Obama said many, many times that we needed to end the war in Iraq and send MORE troops to Afghanistan.

    Again, I remind you that you voted for McCain. He wanted to stay IN Iraq and IN Afghanistan. So, what's your problem?

    February 18, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  17. alvino

    The foreign policy of the right wing nuts, "Kill everyone and let God sort it out."

    February 18, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  18. obama-mama

    I don't know much diplomacy will help when dealing with these people. They're pretty much set in their violent ways. I guess it can't hurt to try diplomacy but don't count on it.

    February 18, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  19. Fitz

    Proud American: shut up already about ACORN. Nobody cares about ACORN. What are you a squirrel or just a nut?

    February 18, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  20. John Starnes Tampa Florida

    The UN mandate did NOT include the US installing a puppet regime headed by an oil industry analyst on the CIA payroll...and the Afghan people know this as thousands of them die at our hands!

    February 18, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  21. Kevin in Ohio

    Yep, talking with the terroists will really help. Just ask Jimmy Carter.

    February 18, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  22. Art

    Notice how the article started talking about Afganistan and ended up talking about NAFTA? Oh well. One thing that NAFTA did set up the opening for exporting jobs to Mexico and Canada. The company "Powers-To-Be" thought this was an amazing concept. We can build there cheaper than we can here. So it was on. Let 's start making cars in Canada and Mexico and rake in the profits. The drawback is that it cost American workers over 800,000 jobs. 78% of those lost jobs were relatively high paying manufacturing jobs. And that brings up another point. You know how concious we are now of our ID. You know, name, social security number, credit. I received a call from one of the major credit companies about my account. I noticed the accent and asked where she was. Her answer... Bombay, India. That's right, outsourcing not only jobs that could be done here, but my credit information too. Hopefully, there are security procedures in place, but regardless, I cancelled my account immediately.

    February 18, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  23. Matt, CT

    Obama's in way over his head and it's beginnging to become dreadfully apparent.

    February 18, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  24. Angie in Pa

    He is Right Military Alone will only make the Situation worse, Thats what they want They are Radicals Suicide Bombers they dont care if they Die! We need to use Diplomacy,Psychology,Cultures, And all sorts of Different Methods.

    February 18, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  25. alvino

    I feel sorry for Proud American. Bush never listened to the military leaders to find out what had to be done, instead, he chose to go with his gut feeling. We are in one hell of a mess thanks to him.

    The warming up of the Taliban and Pakistan was done under Bush's watch. (or lack thereof)

    February 18, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
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