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After week of wins, Obama turns to Afghan challenge

[ 2010-03-30 11:41]     字号 [] [] []  
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After weeks dominated by healthcare, US President Barack Obama's secret trip to Afghanistan turned attention back to another issue whose progress this year could help define the success of his presidency.

By deciding in December to order a massive buildup to the war he inherited, Obama placed a big bet. Nearly tripling the US presence with 30,000 more troops, he escalated an unpopular war that has seen few gains in its eight years.

Those new forces are still flowing in, and the first major campaign under Obama's new strategy was launched last month, in the south. Although Afghanistan has been eclipsed recently by the contentious, cliffhanger health care debate, Obama's daunting challenge has not gone away.

Obama must show Americans that the big infusion of US troops, to reach a total of about 100,000 by summer, will be worth the additional loss of life.

Whether he was talking to Afghan President Hamid Karzai in the presidential palace in Kabul or before 2,500 cheering American troops at Bagram Air Field about 50 miles away, the message during his six hours on the ground was the same: Afghan leaders, particularly Karzai, must step up now and make progress on old demands.

Those include reducing corruption, ensuring the delivery of basic services to Afghans, providing true rule of law with an effective judicial system, turning away warlords and unqualified cronies from government positions and creating an effective national police force and army.

At least 945 members of the US military have died in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan since the war's start, according to an Associated Press count.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

After week of wins, Obama turns to Afghan challenge

About the broadcaster:

After week of wins, Obama turns to Afghan challenge

Renee Haines is an editor and broadcaster at China Daily. Renee has more than 15 years of experience as a newspaper editor, radio station anchor and news director, news-wire service reporter and bureau chief, magazine writer, book editor and website consultant. She came to China from the United States.