In recent speeches Obama has claimed to be withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. He also notes that the Taliban has lost momentum in the war and that Afghan security forces are trained and ready to take on security tasks. Part of this is spin and part simply not true.
Here is a part of what Obama has said recently:
"Because of their bravery (of U.S. troops) and dedication, the tide of war has turned in Afghanistan. We have broken the Taliban's momentum. We've built strong Afghan Security Forces. We have devastated al-Qaida's leadership. "
However it is not at all clear that the tide has turned. Although reports have touted security advances recent events show that even in the capital Kabul insurgents can wreak havoc. The situation is described even by a U.S. report as a stalemate. However, Obama puts a positive spin on this describing the situation as one where the Taliban has lost momentum. Of course they are far from defeated. The level of violence since the surge in Afghanistan has gone up during most six-month periods. See this article.
Another spin in his speech is his description of the withdrawal in 2014 of U.S. troops. While this is true, the Strategic Partnership Agreement contemplates U.S. forces remaining in Afghanistan until at least 2024; in talking of the partnership somehow Obama seems to miss this fact. There will be special forces and troops for training Afghans and also drone operators. There will also probably be funding of more than a billion a year to keep the Afghan government afloat. Obama manages to concentrate attention on the withdrawal and not the decade long further commitment in Afghanistan.
Some of what Obama has to say can only be said to be an untruth if not an outright lie. According to this site: "Only 1 percent of Afghan police and soldiers are capable of operating independently, a top U.S. commander said on Wednesday. " I suppose Obama the commander in chief must know better! The fact that U.S. trainers will remain in Afghanistan for years after 2014 shows that Obama is wrong. In fact there are many articles that point out the weakness of the Afghan police and army. See this article. The best spin that can placed on the present situation is that things may have improved somewhat.
As for al-Qaida being defeated in Afghanistan, it is the Taliban, not al-Qaida, who are targets of the U.S. occupation. There are hardly any al-Qaida left in Afghanistan. Indeed al-Qaida has been growing by leaps and bounds in Yemen where Obama is in effect starting a new surge in covert U.S involvement. No doubt Obama is referring to the killing of Bin Laden, but of course this was not in Afghanistan but Pakistan!
IMAGE from Wikimedia Commons