March 27th, 2009
09:47 AM ET
14 years ago

Obama announces Afghanistan plan

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama announced a "comprehensive" new strategy Friday confronting the growing threat in Afghanistan and now Pakistan.

Obama said "situation is increasingly perilous" in the region and 2008 was the deadliest year of the war for U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

"It's an international security challenge of the highest order," he said in an address at the executive office building. "The safety of people around the world is at stake."

He called on Congress to pass a bipartisan bill co-sponsored by Sens. John Kerry and Richard Lugar authorizing "$1.5 billion in direct support to the Pakistani people every year over the next five years – resources that will build schools, roads, and hospitals, and strengthen Pakistan's democracy."

He is also urging Congress "to pass a bipartisan bill co-sponsored by Maria Cantwell, Chris Van Hollen and Peter Hoekstra that creates opportunity zones in the border region to develop the economy and bring hope to places plagued by violence. And we will ask our friends and allies to do their part – including at the donors conference in Tokyo next month."

Filed under: Happening Now
soundoff (157 Responses)
  1. yeah-right

    That's the right approach. The same would apply to Gaza. The terrorists gain support from their general population when they look like they're the ones to bring food, schools, etc. That needs to change. Supporting the poorest will inhibit a lot of that. Go Obama!

    March 27, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  2. Lotta Muni

    Ha ha ha! At this rate, when all is said and done people are going to reminisce fondly on the Bush Presidency. Obama is speeding this bus known as the USA off a cliff!

    March 27, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  3. Sam Sixpack

    Why do all the posts pointing out that China is bank-rolling our new democracy always disappear?

    March 27, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  4. Sniffit

    @ karen, who said "PLease put a freese on foriegn spending take care of your own country first. "

    That's just about the most unrealistic request I've seen in weeks. You people pretending he's not spending money here might want to go back to your previous posts in which you complained about how much money and spending is invovled in the Stimulus Bill, then refer to the specific areas at which that money is targeted, such as transportation and education infrastructure, etc. Listening to you talk out of both sides of your mouths is getting boring.

    March 27, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  5. Proud of American

    Hey Hank. Let me guess in your mind President Bush, who got us in this predicament in the first place, with a mis-guided war in Iraq, an ignored war in ahganistan, an economy thats tanking, is the best President ever! Why don't you follow the lead of the true worst President and give the current POTUS your silence until his term up! In all fairness, inspite of your bias and misguided opinion, I sure you can agree he least deserves that. Bush seems to think so.

    March 27, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  6. Terry, TX

    This is the only time he has sounded presidential and not like a Chicago Politician.

    Then he had to ruin it with installing Eric Holder" as attorney general and give us a Black History Lesson....Eric Holder thinks we are a "Nation of Cowards" ...who thinks our gun laws should be changed because of Mexico...who defended terrorists in his practice....and looks like he is going to release terrorists to our streets. Eric Holder should never have been approved for the job.

    March 27, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  7. Realism front and center

    Hank, you're a joke.

    Obama has been president for a little over 2 months. Your statement already proves that you are incapable of objectivity and sound judgment. Thank God you don't represent the majority of Americans who are willing to give Obama the chance he worked hard for to become president.

    Feel free to judge Obama after his first term. We gave Bush 2 terms and he gave the world plenty to judge him on for decades.

    March 27, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  8. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    "The safety of people around the world is at stake." If the safety of the people around the world is at stake-–then why is it only Americans soldiers dying there? Where is the rest of the world? Aren't they as concern as you are Mr. President?

    March 27, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  9. Sniffit

    @ Mario, who said "when Bush wanted to do something like this,"

    BUSH NEVER WANTED TO DO SOMETHING LIKE THIS. The only thing he did was start a war IN THE WRONG COUNTRY after sending a piddling number of troops to Afghanistan to make it look like he was trying to catch bin Laden. The distinctions are myriad.

    March 27, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  10. Bill ~ Down on the Bayou

    For the eight years that George W. Bush was president there were daily accusations of the President and Vice-president being war criminals and murderers, those attacks on those two honorable people continue even now that they are out of office.

    I have noticed that there is not the same anger directed at this obama guy and his sidekick biden.

    Why the free ride, he promised to bring the trrops home and now he is as was said of President Bush "sending them to thier slaughter" why is it acceptable to you people for this obama thing to do it?

    Must be some sort of politically correct race thing. there is no other logical explination.

    March 27, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  11. AndyL

    You were suppose to bring the troops home you liar

    March 27, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  12. Sniffit

    @ kd who said "But if we can possibly use small surgical strike forces to target insurgents then we'd at least be making some impact."

    What do you think Bush was doing? Rummy had his chance to do it EXACTLY LIKE THAT, using drones and other military technology to replace feet on the ground AND IT DID NOT WORK. Bin LAden's head is still not on a spike in the WH Rose Garden where it belongs. The region is vast, the topography is extreme and the weather conditions difficult. The ONLY way this is going to work is with a vast number of troops taking to the region and sweeping through it, which history tells us Russia was unable to accomplish, although their goal was different and the resistence they met larger and more organized.

    March 27, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  13. Sue

    karen – listen to what you are saying. Obama have provided the funds to do what is expected of us here in this country but you realize that the Republicians are standing in the way of you town getting help. It is not Obama you should be judging but the Party of NO Republicans that want allow funds to be taken in you state. Please make no mistake about the two pieces of this puzzle. Obama is protecting our country and is trying to get our country back on track. The American people here needs to step up to the plate and help him.

    March 27, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  14. Al, NY NY

    @Typical......You are right about keeping tabs on the $ we send. Unlike his predecessor who lost billions to corrupt adminstrations overseas.

    @ Mario...tell me what Duhbya did for PAKISTAN instead of his pet project Iraq? He focused so much on showing how tough he was by pushing Saddam around he completely lost touch with the real area of war.

    March 27, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  15. cruiserGT

    Mr. Bush goes in to ferret out terrorists. Mr. Obama goes in to add more folks to the dole.

    Incredible waste of tax payer money... you cannot buy love by giving away money or talking nice. Our government has lost its sense of purpose.

    March 27, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  16. Matt

    1.5 billion per year for Pakistan seems like a much better deal to me then 10 billion per month in Iraq. Pakistan is a country with nukes by the way - probably not someone we want to piss off because of a war WE started over there.

    I really wonder, did people honestly expect our problems to go away on January 20th? I fail to see how people can logically blame Obama for the strife in the world. That's like coming home to find your house destroyed by a tornado and blaming your child for messing the place up. Get a grip people, you're flying off the handle.

    March 27, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  17. tony

    Thankyou Pres. Obama you truly the glory we have waited for to lead us out of this Bush mess.OBAMA2012 the blessed one
    thanks and God bless America

    March 27, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  18. Briana the college student

    My president does the right thing. I couldn't say that for the past eight years.

    March 27, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  19. Ed from Dallas

    My fellow Americans. I feel ashamed at how some of you seem so ignorant on the issue of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    One, the Pakistani government is on the verge of collapse. They control lest than half of the country. (Why do you think Osama is hiding there?), and they have over 100 nuclear warheads.

    You cannot fight the Taliban in Afghanistan since all they will do is run across the border in Pakistan and fight you from there. We cannot invade Pakistan. They have nukes.

    Basically, to win in Afghanistan, we have to have the help of Pakistan. If these Taliban don’t have a place to hide, we can eliminate them. The road to success of the Afghan war goes through Pakistan. We have to convince the Pakistani population that they stand to loose if they entertain these Taliban. (Read Obama's speech). We cannot just tell them to be against the Taliban. They understand good roads, schools, hospitals etc. (I know this. I came from a third world country)That is why Obama has to invest all this money in such projects.

    Lastly, we have to make sure under all costs; I mean all costs, that the Pakistani nukes do not fall into a rogue government there. If this happens, only God can save us.

    March 27, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  20. Mississippi Mike

    "The safety of people around the world is at stake."

    Half true, Iraq is also pretty significant too. Unfortunately it's bad politics to mention how critical Iraq still is so let's focus on Afghanistan while Baghdad burns.

    March 27, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  21. lcx

    Bush did NOT start this war...I believe the terriost did, Please tell me what Countries are gonna bail us out and give us 1.5 billion a year for 5 years ???

    March 27, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  22. william from oregon

    I voted for the President but I do not approve of this. We should pull out of the mideast and start closing military bases around the world. No longer can we be the worlds policeman and try to impose our views on the rest of the world.

    March 27, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  23. JP

    Authorize $1.5 billion in direct support to the Pakistani people? They will take the money and still support Taliban.

    March 27, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  24. Lori

    Smart move for the President to do this. Why are Republicans objecting? When Bush went to war with false intelligence you all stood behind him 100% with no questions asked. And now you don't support our President going after Al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan where the Taliban actually is??? Hyprocrisy!!!

    March 27, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  25. Brian in AZ

    khif: first of all, the Taliban started the afghan war by sheltering and funding and buddy-buddying folks who drove hijacked four planes and murdered thousands in cold blood.

    The criticism of Obama's treatment of Afghanistan is that he got elected by criticizing Bush for what Obama called a lethal combination of billions of war spending + billions in domestic spending...and now with the war in Afghanistan Obama is doing the same thing, which opens him up for the same criticism he was so eager to deal...when it favored him politically.

    March 27, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
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