Obama: Kabul much safer than it was

2011-06-30 12:06

Washington - US President Barack Obama insisted on Wednesday that Kabul is "much safer than it was" but said he expected attacks like the one on the Intercontinental Hotel to continue for "some time".

Nine heavily armed Taliban militants, some in suicide vests, stormed the hotel late on Tuesday, sparking a ferocious battle with Afghan commandos and a Nato helicopter gunship that left at least 21 dead, including the attackers.

The brazen attack, which left the landmark hotel on a hill overlooking the capital ablaze for hours, was seen as a direct rebuttal from the Taliban to Obama's claims of progress as he seeks to wind up the 10-year-old war.

It came only days after Obama announced the "beginning of the end" of the conflict in Afghanistan and tried to reassure American voters ahead of his 2012 re-election campaign that the "tide of war is receding".

In his first public comments on the Intercontinental attack, Obama insisted that the Afghan forces who are responsible for security in Kabul are doing "a reasonably good job" and their capacity is increasing.

"Keep in mind the drawdown hasn't begun. So we understood that Afghanistan is a dangerous place, that the Taliban is still active, and that there are still going to be events like this on occasion," he said.

Work not done


"Kabul is much safer than it was, and Afghan forces in Kabul are much more capable than they were," he told a White House press conference.

"That doesn't mean that there are not going to be events like this potentially taking place, and that will probably go on for some time. Our work is not done."

The attack came weeks before the first foreign forces begin withdrawing from Afghanistan ahead of the planned close of combat operations at the end of 2014.

About 10 000 US troops are slated to leave this year and a further 23 000 before the end of next September. That will leave less than 70 000 US troops in Afghanistan to prop up President Hamid Karzai's fragile hold on power.

The brazen Intercontinental Hotel attack provides fodder for some of the president's critics who argue that he caved in to domestic political pressure and is pulling out US forces to quickly.

Military leaders, including the commander in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, had wanted to keep more forces in place through next summer's fighting season to cement progress in the south and renew efforts in the east.

Read more on:    barack obama  |  hamid karzai  |  afghanistan  |  war
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

An uncomfortable election

The latter few weeks of election 2014, have seen South Africans reeling from an assault on their comfort zone when it comes to voting, writes Daniel Silke

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia N9

The Nokia N9 has a beautiful one-piece, unibody design where...

From R2899.85

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may find yourself putting in that extra effort on looking good and making an impression. ...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.