Obviously Afghanistan has been the primary focal point in the War on Terror since September 11, 2001 when the United States was attacked and about 3,000 people were murdered. The US government identified Osama bin Laden and the Al-Qaeda organization based in and allied with the Taliban, the Islamic government in Afghanistan, as the perpetrators of the attacks. While political and military mistakes have been made in this 10 year conflict, we have been successful and destroying the violent Al-Qaeda and Taliban leadership and allowing a government friendly to its neighbors to hopefully evolve. This evolution will take time and be difficult, so our commitment should not waver, but our need for regular military forces in Afghanistan has ended. Continuing to watch and appropriately react to developments in Afghanistan will be an important political issue.

Military Rethinks Afghan Pullout

from The Wall Street Journal,

Some officials worry proposed White House troop drawdown leaves Afghan government vulnerable to militant attacks.

U.S. and allied defense officials, increasingly wary of White House plans to scale back the U.S. presence in Afghanistan, are reviewing new drawdown options that include keeping thousands of American troops in the country beyond the end of 2016, American and allied officials said. The top international commander in Afghanistan, U.S. Army Gen. John Campbell, has sent five different recommendations to the Pentagon and to North Atlantic Treaty Organization officials in Brussels, each with its own risk assessment, officials said. The options include keeping the current U.S. presence at or near 10,000; reducing it slightly to 8,000; cutting the force roughly in half; and continuing with current plans to draw down to a force of several hundred troops by the end of 2016. Some officials worry that too large a cut could cause the Afghan government to come under increased pressure from the Taliban and other militants, officials said. Others believe a smaller force of several thousand Americans still could be effective at backing the Afghan government. Looming over the debate are the lessons of the Iraq withdrawal of 2011 and the rise of the Islamic State extremist group. Many critics and some officials believe that the Iraqi military would have been able to better fight off the Islamic State’s advance last year had the U.S. maintained a force of at least several thousand advisers in the country. There has been no formal Pentagon recommendation on changes in the troop presence in Afghanistan. A senior administration official said the White House remains focused on training, advising and assisting the Afghan forces and conducting counterterrorism missions. “We will continue to work closely with President Ghani, the Afghan government, and our international partners to ensure that Afghan forces have the capabilities and training necessary to preserve the gains made by the Afghans and the international community over the last 13 years,” the official said. The recommendations reflect growing concerns among military officers that current force reduction plans could raise the risk of mission failure in Afghanistan to what one senior military official said would be an “unacceptable level.”

They come as the Afghan government presses Washington to keep current troop levels and as NATO officials say they need a quick U.S. decision if the alliance is to extend the current mission in the country.

More From The Wall Street Journal (subscription required):

365 Days Page
Comment ( 0 )
Leave a Reply