February 18th, 2009
07:20 AM ET
6 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. GARY

    It will be another Viet Nam war. Russia and Britain both lost trying(.Dawn) nobody knows where Bin Laden is. He could be right in the U.S.A. We are sending our soldiers into suicide .I think we should worry about taking care of our own right now.Obama is going to find out he isn't the Messiah .Obama is jumping into the fire to fast ,with Stimilus etc. The Republicans are right about the money. The more you bail out the more they will want.You who thaught Bush was so bad but he kept us safe for 8 yrs. Now comes the down fall of Obama. It will be worst than the Bush yrs. I was giving Obama a chance ,but he isn't thinking things through and is only working with Dems. That is one of his broken promises.Just like a politician. you who voted for Obama ,has been conned by Chicago's best. Time will tell.

    February 18, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  2. Simpliticus

    Looks like Obama has to save Bush foreign policy again! Afghanistan has been largely left behind by the Bush administration, among other things as well, but it appears that Bush never had in mind controlling the entire country but only that corridor in which the proposed pipeline from the Caspian Sea area, the Unical pipeline, was the only important area. Everything else is of no import. As a result, turmoil can exist everywhere else which was the ongoing nature of Afghanistan since 2001. Now, it is up to President Obama to stabilize the entire country and then to agree to diplomatic processes to get the troops out of that region. This should demonstrate that Bush was NEVER really fighting a war on terrorism but merely the ruse of terrorism. Afghanistan is that ruse!

    February 18, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  3. manhandler

    Being in Afganistan is Stupid as all H-. Is the idea to stop terrorism by getting Osama? How goofy can you get? Terrorism does not come from one place. Terrorists are not in one place. 9/11 terrorists came from Saudi Arabia (supposedly our friend) and was organized in the?.........you guessed it,.... the United States. I thought Obama was so intelligent. Then why is he sending more troops in? No one is ever gonna change that place. Russia spent billions tyrying to take over. Our we gonna be just as stupid and spend billions more?

    February 18, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
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