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. Justin from New Haven, CT

    Why would we give more money to Pakistan? They already blew 10 billion thanks to corruption.

    March 27, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  2. Ghost

    To the totally clueless, Obama said we would have to continue, maybe even send more troops to Afganistan. And we are bringing troops home from Iraq, where they shouldn't have been in the 1st place.

    March 27, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  3. Dan, TX

    Unless there is equal participation by the rest of the world we should pull out. I'm willing to risk another 9/11 and turn the other cheek rather than spend another trillion. The damage done by 9/11 and the lives lost, while horrifying and tragic, was not worth the cost of Iraq. Although I supported the invasion of Afghanistan, it has been bungled so badly that I now regret supporting the Afghanistan war and now wish we had done nothing but turn the other cheek after 9/11.

    We may be attacked again by terrorists. I support not responding to the attack by military action in the future. We have seen over the past 8 years that military action against terrorism is the incorrect way to use resources in fighting terrorism. If we had invested the money in helping Iran to develop safe nuclear power, helping Syria, helping the 'stans, we would have been much better off.

    March 27, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  4. RR

    until we realize that pakistan is not our ally and is doing nothing to help rid their northern provinces of the taliban, we are in for another Vietnam.

    We need to send more than predators after the taliban in pakistan. We need to send a fleet of B52s and B2s!

    March 27, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  5. Steve G

    Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia
    "then why is it only Americans soldiers dying there?"

    We may not have the size of force the US has but 116 Canadians have died fighting along side US forces in Afghanistan. Actually 21 other countries have had soldiers die in this war.

    Ignorant statements like yours are usually heard on Fox news.

    March 27, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  6. Dan, TX

    Best president in the history of the country, and he's only been in for 2 months. Obama is amazing me almost every day.

    March 27, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  7. matt

    Obama is a joke this guy should have his own tv time like the View where he can invite he Russian President Chevez and the EU the whole world is laughing at us still

    March 27, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  8. JP

    With rampant corruption all around in Afghan Pak area, less than one tenth of the $1.5B would reach to the people; instead, it’s a way to make many local thugs very rich.

    March 27, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  9. jfs Memhis, Tn

    HANK...............well you are alittle premature aren't you?? I am a moderate who voted for our new President. The otherside scared me with VP choice and the fact that during the Election and after the Election your side hasn't any alternatives . DUDE, the Republican Budget has NO FIGURES OR STATISTICS !!! NEGATIVE....NEGATIVE. Please get your folks to give us SOMETHING CONCRETE...those of us in the middle cannot wait for ever !!! Please enough HOT AIR....OPTIONS DUDE !!!!

    March 27, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  10. Nancy

    Wow! Some of you people can't stand a COMPRENSIVE approach where the generals and others are consulted. You can't just win a war with bullets. That was something the Bush Administration never figured out. He veered off course into Iraq instead of focusing on Afganistan. Thank goodness we finally have a Thinker and a Doer in the White House. One who is not locked into "Staying The Course" at all costs no matter what changes.

    March 27, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  11. Natasha/Ohio Democrat

    Well Mr. President, forgive me for sounding selfish. I can care less about Pakistan and building anything for them. Our money needs to be directed to us first. The middle east is it's own worst enemy. I say NO to fund them for anything. AMERICA FIRST!!! NO special favors should be issued to any middle eastern country until we have our ducks in a row here in America.

    March 27, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  12. Michael

    The notion that Republicans are just the party of no and are interested in just obstructing Obama is false.

    Republicans support Obama's policy in Afganistan and Iraq. Actually Iraq looks like a continuation of the Bush policy, guess Obama wised up. And there is some Republican support for the Obama policy on correcting the financial insdutry.

    But there can be no support from Republicans on the out of control spending represented in Obama's budget. It is nothing short of the wilful destruction of or country. The first responsiblity is the success of our country. It Obama must fail for our contry to succed, than that is how it has to be.

    March 27, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  13. Mari

    @ Hank........ "worst President EVER" ? WHAT are you basing your condemnation on? You spew vile but you offer NO FACTS.

    @ ED from Dallas...... Well said, sir. I agree with you.

    Also, to ALL the critics, nay-sayers and hate-mongers......... READ the article!


    March 27, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  14. David

    A combined military, diplomatic, and economic strategy is the right approach.

    1.5 billion per year is unfortunate but it's where the 9/11 terrorists were trained and is an area which is still dangerous. The military is needed to deal with the people who are already terrorists. Education and the economic prosperity which comes with it is the key to preventing their kids from becoming terrorists. The prevention part is important unless we want to be there forever.

    If this is compared to 10 billion per month in Iraq (which had nothing to do with 9/11), it's a much better deal.

    March 27, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  15. helloooooOOOO

    I know it is neccessary to help over there, BUT, i.5 BILLION dollars a year ? we need that money here at home 1st...

    March 27, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  16. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Coherence, coherence, coherence!

    In this economic time, the investment strategy of this administration in dealing at home in facing issues relating to our energy, education, healthcare and environment are set to create and find new and better balance for peace, security and prosperity. This is clearly the same strategy now used in Afghanistan and Pakistan and allies! Finally, in this new beginning, we are seeing coherence in our behaviors, values, principles and actions at home and abroad! To me, this strategy is way more planned than the Irak strategy! To me, this much needed coherence is required since it calls on all of us in being coherent in our application of our values and principles in our daily lives as much at home as abroad from us, friends and allies! We finally understand to invest time and energy in people, in creating a landscape to secure and promote people's daily activities from cultural to economical, to protect more of humanity and see less destructions since this is what September 11, 2001 and any other attacks has taken away from us to see less of our landscape that showed activities of our humanity to live freely, equally and responsible lives for ourselves and towards one another!
    This strategy shows that if we are responsible for our people and our security at home for all our activities we are also responsible for people and their security abroad for their activities to give them hope and actual signs that their humanity has the right to exist freely, equally and for all of us to be responsible partners towards one another! This is the real change that is needed at home and abroad from all of us! For me, this is the change I have been waited for!

    March 27, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  17. Sam Sixpack

    Give money to Pakistan? So what? Its China's money anyway.

    March 27, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  18. Some guy

    Where do you think the Taliban and their buddies got all those Anti-tank missiles and shoulder launched ground to air missiles and other neat stuff? Hmmm... I wonder why there was so much cheap black hash and heroin on the streets in the late 1980's. Hmmm...

    March 27, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  19. Ted van Tol

    Did you know the USA put the Taliban in charge in the first place
    in the war against Russia? And did you know who supported
    Sadam Husein in the war with Iran? Yes, it was the USA.
    Who supported the military regimes in Argentine, Chili etc. etc.
    Again the USA.
    So many times you have to fight the ones you supported with arms and military knowledge because of bad policys in the past.
    Hopely Barack Obama will make the right choises this time.
    I am hopefull!

    March 27, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  20. Fred

    About time that some more effort was spent on Afghanistan, though I do object to the $1.5 Billion going to Pakistan. Given the latest concessions made by the Pakistani government, the Taliban and Al Queda will end up with better autonomy to conduct their operations. I dare say that Pakistan isn't much of an ally in this campaign against terror, be it intentional or through the lack of ability to hold control within its own borders. In the not to distant future, we may find the Pakistani government switch allegiance in this war.

    Tread carefully, President Obama, this is a dangerous region with minimal room for error.

    March 27, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  21. JOE

    This guy is a hollywood actor, even better a great used car salesman.
    It still drives me crazy how we can elect a man who has never held a full time job ever. Who never has ran a business. What is he going to do next invade Pakistan and then everyone will say great job O". If Bush was still here you people would be camped out front and never leave. Obama is a joke!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 27, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  22. Joshua

    To Snippy-

    You said "@ Jerry, who asked So….how is this different from what President Bush was doing.??? "

    It's EXTREMELY different. Bush basically sent a few token troops to Afghanistan, then turned all his focused attention to Iraq and finishing his daddy's war. He ignored the need for appropriate diplomatic dialogue with Pakistan and Afghanistan and the need to use the tools available to us, such as aid money, to secure the support of Pakistan's government and its public, instead choosing to hypocritically support a military dictatorship that was won by coup, despite all the evidence suggesting that it was Pakistan's military, if anything, that had secret ties to extremists in the region.

    Keep pretending buddy. You guys NEVER cease to amaze."

    Do you understand the history of conflict in Afghanistan? Time and time again it has been proven that these people are fighters. Look at what happened to Alexander the Great when he invaded, or the Soviets.

    You want to know why they failed so miserably? Its easy, in terrain such as Afghanistan, you CANNOT have a huge force in country and expect to maintain success.

    Afghanistan is land-locked, and our only airbase in the north, in Kyrgistan* (im sorry if I spelled that wrong, but I dont have time to look for the correct spelling) is being closed.

    How are we going to maintain a large force in Afghanistan? Land-locked and mountainous, its going to be hard.

    Do a little history research before you blindly follow your dictator.

    March 27, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  23. Dave

    the EU the whole world is laughing at us still


    You think the world wasn't laughing at us harder when Bush was president? Yesterday I went to a lecture given by a representative of one of the EU countries. He said if the red-and-blue-states map were applied to the entire globe, it would be all blue except for the American south. Also, they're laughing because America is still backward religiously. The only countries still that fundamentally backward are us, and the Islamic states. We are also lagging in education.

    He said we'd still be leading the world and are ahead of the rest in most other areas, but if we continued to indulge mindsets like those held by the Republicans, we'd be behind pretty soon. You can see this in the data that was generated in the Bush years, and you can also see it in history: the Islamic countries were once the cradle of civilization and led in everything from commerce to science, but once religious fundamentalism took hold there, they quickly slid to the bottom and now lag the rest of the world. Republican thought would land us in the same place.

    March 27, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  24. david

    if obama knows something that makes afghanistan such a threat to the world, he needs to share it with the world but especially with americans. in this economy, the costs for iraq and afghanistan are astronomical and there is no victory in sight however victory is currently being defined. could this be obama's vietnam? the insurgents, kind of like the viet cong, and volunteers fighting with the insurgents a form of the north vietamese allies of the viet cong?

    March 27, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  25. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    This is the war we should be fighting. Thank you Mr. President for getting America focused on the people who attacked us. The people who attacked us on 9/11 are going to pay in blood. As the President said in his inauguaral address, "you will not outlast us and we will defeat you!"

    March 27, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
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