Obama: New Afghan Strategy Coming After Thanksgiving

Posted November 24, 2009 at 12:07pm

President Barack Obama confirmed Tuesday that he will announce his new Afghanistan strategy after Thanksgiving, but he wouldn’t say whether he would do so in a Dec. 1 prime-time address.Obama, who appeared at the White House with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for a brief press conference, gave little hint about what he will announce. The president has been weighing his Afghan policy for months, with part of the discussion focusing on whether to send additional troops to the region.“I will be making an announcement to the American people about how we intend to move forward,— Obama said. “I will be doing so shortly. I think the review that we have gone through has been comprehensive and extremely useful.—Obama met with his military advisers on Monday night, the ninth session of its kind. Several news organizations have said Obama would announce his plans a week from today in a nationally televised address.Democrats and Republicans are divided on the best way forward, with some liberals calling for an outright withdrawal from the region and Republicans supporting a buildup of U.S. forces.Whatever his ultimate strategy, Obama suggested Tuesday that he will be discussing ways to turn the situation over the Afghan troops.“It’s going to be very important to recognize that the Afghan people ultimately are going to have to provide for their own security, and so we’ll be discussing that process whereby Afghan security forces are properly trained and equipped to do the job,— Obama said. “And it’s going to be important to recognize that, in order for us to succeed there, you’ve got to have a comprehensive strategy that includes civilian and diplomatic efforts.—The president described his goal as “to make sure that al-Qaida and its extremist allies— cannot operate in the area. “Afghanistan’s stability is important to that process,— he said.Obama said he will discuss “the obligations of our international partners— winning the war.Obama also took a shot at the Bush administration’s handling of the war. “After eight years, some of those years in which we did not have, I think, either the resources or the strategy to get the job done, it is my intention to finish the job,— he said.Obama will meet with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) this afternoon presumably to discuss his plans. He also plans to dispatch several of his top military advisers to Capitol Hill next week, including the top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal.