What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

President Obama's speech about a new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan

Normally I reserve this blog for observations and commentary. But I was asked to forward President Obama's speech, and I will comply. The reason is that this is an important speech. And of course I will come back to comment on it in a separate post.

Up until then here is a short excerpt that I feel I could highlight, and below is the link as well to the transcript of the full speech at the White House website.

Keywords you could look out for: comprehensive strategy (or approach); more troops; more trainers specifically; more civilians (an increase in the numbers of whom will be "ordered"); asking more from partners as well; the upcoming conference at the Hague.

So click on the link. Or read the excerpt first and then click on the link.

* * * * *

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

_______________________________________________________________

For Immediate Release March 27, 2009


REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
ON A NEW STRATEGY FOR AFGHANISTAN AND PAKISTAN


(Excerpt)

"(...)

I've already ordered the deployment of 17,000 troops that had been requested by General McKiernan for many months. These soldiers and Marines will take the fight to the Taliban in the south and the east, and give us a greater capacity to partner with Afghan security forces and to go after insurgents along the border. This push will also help provide security in advance of the important presidential elections in Afghanistan in August.

At the same time, we will shift the emphasis of our mission to training and increasing the size of Afghan security forces, so that they can eventually take the lead in securing their country. That's how we will prepare Afghans to take responsibility for their security, and how we will ultimately be able to bring our own troops home.

For three years, our commanders have been clear about the resources they need for training. And those resources have been denied because of the war in Iraq. Now, that will change. The additional troops that we deployed have already increased our training capacity. And later this spring we will deploy approximately 4,000 U.S. troops to train Afghan security forces. For the first time, this will truly resource our effort to train and support the Afghan army and police. Every American unit in Afghanistan will be partnered with an Afghan unit, and we will seek additional trainers from our NATO allies to ensure that every Afghan unit has a coalition partner. We will accelerate our efforts to build an Afghan army of 134,000 and a police force of 82,000 so that we can meet these goals by 2011 -- and increases in Afghan forces may very well be needed as our plans to turn over security responsibility to the Afghans go forward.

This push must be joined by a dramatic increase in our civilian effort. Afghanistan has an elected government, but it is undermined by corruption and has difficulty delivering basic services to its people. The economy is undercut by a booming narcotics trade that encourages criminality and funds the insurgency. The people of Afghanistan seek the promise of a better future. Yet once again, we've seen the hope of a new day darkened by violence and uncertainty.

So to advance security, opportunity and justice -- not just in Kabul, but from the bottom up in the provinces -- we need agricultural specialists and educators, engineers and lawyers. That's how we can help the Afghan government serve its people and develop an economy that isn't dominated by illicit drugs. And that's why I'm ordering a substantial increase in our civilians on the ground. That's also why we must seek civilian support from our partners and allies, from the United Nations and international aid organizations -- an effort that Secretary Clinton will carry forward next week in The Hague.

(...)"

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