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. More of the same

    Hey I though he was suppose to sit down and have tea with the Taliban and resolve all of this. Another Obama flip-flop. We need a leader, not a teleprompter robot.

    March 27, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  2. Dave

    New regime, same as the old one. War mongers all of them. The two party system is a scam.

    March 27, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  3. Anonymous

    For those of you who think its your money thats being spent in other countries, then you are dead wrong. There is a big difference between TAXPAYERS money and TAX money. TAX is something paid by the common people to the government inorder for it to do its duties which is to protect the country people, by building infratructure, defense, security etc. Once you pay your taxes then it is no longer TAXPAYERS money (i mean YOUR Money), its the government's money (TAX money). The government has to make sure they invest that money for the betterment of the country people, be it bailing out banks, giving refund checks and the list goes on and on..... WE the TAXPAYERS have no say on this money, whatsoever. I don't know if this article makes sense, but if you give it a little thought you know what i am talking about.

    Our only responsibility as a citizen is to elect a intelligent president who can spend the TAX money for the welfare of this country.

    The reason i say this is, if you change your perspective on what TAXPAYERS money really is, it will save all your energy on posting outrage on everything the government does...

    CNN please post this comment.....

    March 27, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Let the battle begin. This is the war we need to fight. Hunt Osama and his militants down into their caves and kill them. Al Queda thinks they're going to have us bogged down like when the Afghans fought the Soviet Union. Well they have another thing coming. This is not Charlie Wilson's war.

    March 27, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  5. Pee Wee

    It's rather sad reading this forum. The volume of misconception, misinformation and illogical processing of information that is readily available is startling. No wonder our country is going through what it is now.

    According to what I see on this board, the message matters not, only the messenger and if you ally yourself with the messenger's purported political slant, all is OK. If you don't ally with the messenger's ideology, then it is all bad.

    The mob mentality has replaced logic and reasoned, rational thinking.

    March 27, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  6. Kent in CA

    This is exactly what Obama said he would do in the 2nd debate with McCain. He said he would scale down Iraq and scale up our effort in Afghanistan. Were any of you guys listening? Do you remember? It was only five months ago.

    Another campaign promise delivered.

    Of course most Americans appear to have the memory span of a 24 hour news cycle. I don't know how some of you guys remember your own kids' birthdays!

    March 27, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  7. me

    Put your brains on!

    If you take a second and actually read you would notice that Obama is doing what Reagan didn't understand: If you destroy a country and it's infrastructure without rebilding and facilitating the reemergence of civil society (organically...No stupid forced "democratic" elections), you will breed terrorists.

    Where do you really think the Taliban came from? A frat? The same applies to the pirates in Somalia.


    March 27, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  8. Fair is Fair

    Guess I'll have to ask again.

    WILL we see liberal outrage when the reports of civilian casualties, as a direct result of this escalation in hostilities, begin to come in?

    Discuss (but please... no "inherited" rhetoric).

    March 27, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  9. JP

    Spend the $1.5B to recruit a mercenary army to fight Taliban in Pak territory. That would be more worthwhile I guess.

    March 27, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  10. Mel of Alexandria, Virginia

    Thanks Mr. President, because if there is one place where these cowardly terrorists can find safety, then there is no place that the rest of us will be at peace.

    March 27, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  11. Political Guru

    @ Ed from Dallas.....

    I agree with you. Lets look at the reasoning behind the strategy not at what our emotions make us feel. President Obama gets briefed every day on these issues. We dont. There is a whole bunch of info he knows that we dont.

    For the millitary and intelligence community to support Pres Obama and endorse his plan, they must know its what needs to be done.

    March 27, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  12. Michael - USAF Veteran

    By the way great news from President Obama on this decision, I fully support and expect that these matters are Presidential duties. I do not support and I hope all of President Obama's economic and socialist policies FAIL!!

    March 27, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  13. Doug

    Iraq and Afghanistan were wars we should not be fighting when Bush was in office (Pakistan had warheads years ago and has always been a rogue nation. Just ask India how Pakistan has operated since they were divided). Now it is ok? Religion is for right wing hacks until Obama found Jesus in Chicago and started going to church.
    If you look at the trend of spending it bottomed in 02’ after 9/11 and was getting smaller each year until Pelosi and crew took over the Congress in 2006. After that time the deficit exploded. Hmmmmmm, seems like it is still going out of control. Do not vote for any current member of the senate of congress, regardless of party affiliation, back in when elections come around! This is the only way “We the People” can change the course of our nation. If not, we can welcome back Chris Dodd and Barney Frank who lead us down the path of financial collapse! Bush was not in charge of writing legislation or tax code for financial institution or corporation. The Senate Finance committee and Ways and Means are, which by the way are both lead by corrupt democrats.

    March 27, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  14. DavidinCA

    I do like Obama's approach here. It's hopefully reflecting a lesson we learned several times. When all else fails and you have to fight, go in and win. Our military is the best the world has ever known so give them a clear mission and whatever they need to win. Quickly.

    March 27, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  15. dede-ole

    finally we have a president who is engaged in a multi faced approach to the afgan/pakistan regional problem .Their history dates back into ancient rivaly.some of the problems they have can not be solved by guns.let us trend in that territory with a birds eye view,and then get out.

    March 27, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  16. Scared

    What a mess. I know we have to do something to fix W's messes, but it is a dangerous country, just ask Russia, Great Brittan, Mongols and Alexander the Great! We have been set-up for failure by closed minded moronic policies, let's all come together and to get the frigin' lid slammed down on the al-Qaeda and get the hell out of their!

    March 27, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  17. followthemoney

    O.K. take a deep breath, slow down, and think clearly for a second. Here are some small facts that the bloggers should ponder while posting/reading the messages. To all the liberals; this policy is no different that what G.W. Bush was doing since the "War On Terror" began. The reason why it was barely reported and commented on by the Bush admin. was because it was a complete failure. The Pakistani government is courrupt and losing power and control by the minute. You should think twice about supporting giving them 1.5 bilion more of U.S. tax dollars. To all the conservatives; until the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan is secure the "terrorist" will continue to have a safe have to plan and operate. Now everyone ask yourself this question, " Where did Osama bin Laden get the financing for the 9/11 attacks, and why hasn't our government reported this?" Answer: from members of the Pakistani intelligence agency. Think about that for a minute.

    March 27, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  18. Eric

    Again, another example of Obama doing what he said he would do in the campaign. Anyone complaining about this move or saying that he lied about his intentions in Afghanistan weren't paying attention during the campaign.

    March 27, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    @ Joshua, who said "Do you understand the history of conflict in Afghanistan?"

    Yes, I do. My comment was dirrected at why Bush's actions and Obama's actions are not the same thing. What you then did was talk about something completely off-topic and irrelevant to that point by blabbering about whether history tells us it can be won. I'm well informed about it. The Russians failed with well over 100k troops on the ground (see my other posts from today)...and they did so in large part because we gave the Taliban the weapons to defeat them. I in no way stated nor implied that I think it's a completely winnable situation (frankly, I just want proof bin Laden is captured or dead), but it is a situation that cannot be ignored and if we are going to do it (which we are), we must do it in the best possible way...Bush failed miserably on that point, but Obama seems to have far better (and DIFFERENT) ideas about how to accomplish something there, even if is impossible to achieve a 100% win.

    March 27, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  20. S Callahan

    Well said Pee Wee.......people are losing the ability to think for themselves...and that is the most dangerous thing of all.

    March 27, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  21. B.H.

    Yet another Black hole, will we never learn. This country is BROKE and we need to help people HERE FIRST before saving everyone else!

    March 27, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  22. Ray Fisher

    I believe the President has a great plan and will succeed with a victory, not with bombs and blood but with oppportunity and promise. All people simply want to live, work, and enjoy life and only turn to violence when something disrupts their existence which our nation has a terrrible habit of doing without reason at times, Iraq is a perfect example of this. We must convert our war policies to be economic in nature whenever possible and use diplomacy quicker than the trigger!!! Our brave heroes now serving deserve our best efforts at finally achieving world peace!!!

    March 27, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  23. Peggy - TX

    I have absolute confidence in President Obama. If he says that we need to focus on Afghanistan then I fully support him.

    The people who are against any war just are not realistic about the real threats we face from the Taliban. The Republicans are sounding increasingly out of touch with reality as reflected by the nonsensical comments on this blog. Who is really left in the Republican party but the easily deluded as Republican policies have proven to just simply be bad for everyone including the wealthy.

    March 27, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  24. Fredi

    before you get all upset about this "waste", let's not forget – 1.5 billion is about $5 per person and year – and, helping people is much more effective and cheaper than killing them – and, did I mention, more ethical and more Christian!

    March 27, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  25. vet in texas

    The sad part is, if we would have built schools and hospitals when we funded the afghans agaist the russians, there never would have been a september 11th.......HUAH Mr. President!

    March 27, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
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