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."

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

    I totally agree with Pres. Obama the Bush Adm. took their eye of the ball and terrorism got worse bc of their illegal war in Iraq
    however I hope he will not let it become another vietnam
    these extremists are not going away considering the factor they brain wash their children and women to take up weapons and strap bombs to themselves and also taking into consideration these countries have millions and million of people
    Pakistan-173 million
    Iran-70 mill
    Afgh. 33 mill
    Iraq-29 mill
    The money going for these wars could be better spent
    beefing up the borders , airports, sea ports and screening people better who come into the country!!
    At some point someone has to say enough!!
    I think Pres.Obama is intelligent enough to make the right decisions along his journey

    February 18, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  2. elsie

    Proud American, you have nothing to be proud of. I see your comments here all the time. You have nothing positive to say. You lie about everything. Please change your homepage to Fox. That is where you obviously belong.

    February 18, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  3. Ohio Woman

    Another mess left by George W. Bush. I say bring all our troops home and let the Middle East duke it out. They don't want to live like Americans.

    February 18, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  4. You're Oblivious to the Obvious

    Hey! What's that cracking sound I hear? Oh, it's the sound of another Obama campaign pledge being broken.

    February 18, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  5. Ohio Man

    @ Dawn

    I'm with you... let's get who we really should have been after the whole time instead we was spending billion watching a Dog chase his tail, but no 1 had a problem with there tax dollars being spent on that SHOW ....

    February 18, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  6. Hill the jobseller

    Its just a matter of time till they nuke Pakistan.The nuts will get there hands on the buttons there and India will end it for them.But its the fallout that will open a can of worms.

    February 18, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  7. John

    If Obama wins or loses in Afghanastan. The die has already been cast for Bush. He turned tail and ran to Iraq because he thought it would be "easier" Just proves that Republicans are pussies who lose wars.
    I don't know if this is a good idea, but I think the US has an obligation to finish what it started.
    If anyone can win, Obama can.

    Go get Osama and bring that sucker in for trial & execution. Just like Clinton did with the first World Trade Center Bomber.

    February 18, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  8. Laughing at Libs

    Gee, Libs, I thought your pick for president was going to pull out of both wars in the mideast. Isn't that what you wanted? Isn't that the main reason for your disgust with Bush? Isn't that why you whined ever about Bush since 2003?

    February 18, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  9. John

    If Obama wins or loses in Afghanastan. The die has already been cast for Bush. He turned tail and ran to Iraq because he thought it would be "easier" Just proves that Republicans are weaklings who lose wars.
    I don't know if this is a good idea, but I think the US has an obligation to finish what it started.
    If anyone can win, Obama can.

    Go get Osama and bring that sucker in for trial & execution. Just like Clinton did with the first World Trade Center Bomber.

    February 18, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  10. as a wacko lib I say enough is enough

    nuke'm and put in a Denny's

    The russians couldn't and we can't get this region to join the world stage

    at some point, enough is enough

    I am about free handouts as much as the next lib, but diminishing returns and all that

    Nuking worked for the Japanese, I say try it on the Afgan/Paki border

    February 18, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  11. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    No one seems to be paying attention to the obvious, some destructive and repressive political philosophies disguise themselves as religion. Hiding behind a "godhead" does not justifiy their actions. When the world finally units and says "no, you are not a religion, only a distorted political philosophy and there is no placed for you on this planet" can humanity get down to elimination of this disease that terrorists carry.

    February 18, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  12. Colin, RI

    Diplomacy? What's that? I thought we were just supposed to send lots of troops and money over there and dig in for a few decades...

    February 18, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  13. Mike, Syracuse NY

    So what's his timeline? If he can have one for Iraq, he can have one for Afghanistan.

    February 18, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  14. In Our President We Trust

    Bush & his administration left a HUGE mess for Obama to clean up. And with the Republicans stomping their feet in spite, makes all these issues harder to resolve. However, I have complete faith in President Obama. This is what real work from a President looks like, we're not used to it, but its ok, Obama is taking all the steps needed to get our country back and safe. Please be patient and let him do his job, I think you will be happy with the outcome. But its a hard job for him right now, & unity & support will get us through this. Rush L's negativity is not what we need.

    February 18, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  15. LIP

    Obama said during the election campaign that he would increase troops in Afganistan and now he is saying that he will still do that, but we must also focus on Diplomacy. Are we going to ask Iran to stop funding the Taliban, as a new study just released, indicates that Iran and the Taliban have come to some kind of agreement, just like Pakistan, only Iran is supplying arms to kill our soldiers. Who is the real enemy here. The Afgans or the Iranians or the Taliban or a combination of all or some? We need to withdraw with our tail between our legs, just like the Russians did and then learn to deal with these extremists through some other means.

    February 18, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  16. Unshrub

    Proud American

    You don't have a clue. Are you just that dumb or are you a liar?

    February 18, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  17. ginger

    Some of these fake arguements are just so lame.

    February 18, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  18. Doug, New Jersey

    I wonder how Obama feels about the fact that almost every single American that voted for him believes that their fellow Americans who have workerd harder than them and have more, and any American who is not a Democrat soldier is more evil, and more hated than the Taliban, Al Queda, or Bin laden.

    Seriously, give the average lib a gun with one bullet and send them into a room with BinLaden and Sarah Palin or John McCain, or George W Bush. Almost every lib Democrat would take out the republican before the terrorist. Hey just read the comments on the ticker from the left, they really leave no doubt.

    February 18, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  19. Mike in Houston

    Change You Can Believe In, yea right.

    February 18, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  20. proud mother of a man who fought

    As a freshman senator, our POTUS's only clue to the world is what the media tells us. Now he is going to correct the problems. How in hades does he think he can defeat the Taliban when Pakistan has set up a Taliban governed area that will most definitely gain strength and continue their fight in Afghanistan once troops dwindle in Afghanistan. Gee, history will repeat itself just like after the Russians left. Why don't we learn to complete a mission in the middle east? Let the soldiers fight the war the way a war should be fought and not the "politically correct way" they are asked to fight.
    Only the stupid will keep worshiping the ground the big O walks upon!

    February 18, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  21. Hypocrites

    Wow. What hypocrisy. Linda. Proud American (as usual). Deborah. Obambi.

    Are you folks so "party uber alles" indoctrinated that you can ignore the fact that it was your boy Bush who started and then abandoned this effort? That is was Al Qaeda that attacked us and that Bush ignored so he could misdirect us into Iraq with lie after lie? That, once again, Obama is having to clean up a Bush/Neocon mess? That Bush and the republican pet congress approved spending billions upon billions on Bush's follies? And NOW suddenly you folks are financial conservatives, concerned that we may be wasting effort in an unwinnable war, and, best of all, you want to know his PLAN? Did Bush EVER have a plan? Just where the hell were you idiots the last 8 years????????

    February 18, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  22. trying to be objective and get all facts

    This country is very very poor. the land is rough and nothing grows on it other than the poppy. The people are illiterate, infant mortality rate is very high.

    The people have no hope, when these conditions exist in a country they have a tendency to become TERRORIST. Education enables a person to think for themselves. It is difficult for our pres. to change this country, being the intelligent man that he is he knows guns, killing is not the way to help the people of Afghanistan.

    Life expectancy,47.3
    Infant mortality per 1000 140.6
    Literacy rate 31.5%

    When extremes exist in any RELIGIONS you have problems, just listen to some of the people in our own country who do and say things in the name of their RELIGION or what they believe.

    Now that Mr. Obama is president he gets more information from the CIA and others, information he didn't get when he was running for PRES.. He did not tell us lies, he is just getting more inf. that he can not tell us about.

    His HANDS are full. I think he realizes WASH DC
    is a cutthroat,back stabbing, AREA.

    Can't blame him for going to the people who put him in office, getting their support. Even his own people stab him in the back, some dems, Reid, Polocie.

    PRES. BO is trying to put the country and Americans first, others are only interested in lining their pockets and their rich friends pocket as they have done for the last 8 years.

    February 18, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  23. Tony

    So much for Obama's b.s. about bringing the troops home.

    We voted you in and we can vote you OUT!

    February 18, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  24. linda

    to proud Ohio woman..do you really think pulling out will solve our problems? Don't you remember the sleeper cells established in this country and canada prior to the 9/11 attack? Do you tthink the muslims will play nice with us once we leave? America has got to get a "set". Obviously, the Clinton deplomacy dems are famous for worked, ha!

    February 18, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  25. Little too late????

    This will turn into BO's Iraq or Vietnam. Just like in Iraq, the borders are too accessable. Anyone with a small bit of grey matter knows with enough time and enough access to a supportive country or unprotected border can move people and equipment freely in/out of a disputed area. If you have 5 yrs of open, undefended borders with sympathetic countries, you could make anything or anyone disappear, from Osama to WMDs. This happened in Cambodia and with the Syria/Iran borders.

    Best of Luck, Mr President. Here comes your quagmire. Better get with Nancy, Dick and Harry for LOTS more money. Dont forget to get with Barbara Feinstein and Leon Panneta...gather all the intel you can get from the blind leading the blind!!!

    AMERICA...get ready to speak with your votes when it comes time for Boxer, Dodd, Reid and Leahy's try at their next terms. IT'S NOT TOO LATE!!!

    February 18, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
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