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.

Obama Apologizes for Afghan Airstrike on Hospital

from The Wall Street Journal,

President calls head of Doctors Without Borders before U.S. completes probe of deadly attack

President Barack Obama personally apologized for the deadly U.S. airstrike on a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders in northern Afghanistan, even though investigations into the incident are incomplete and U.S. officials have said Afghan forces played a key role in calling for the strike. Mr. Obama on Wednesday placed a phone call to the group’s international president, Joanne Liu, “to apologize and express his condolences” for the 12 staff members and 10 patients who were killed after U.S. forces “mistakenly struck” the organization’s Kunduz hospital, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said. The move marked a reversal from the White House position a day earlier, when Mr. Earnest indicated the U.S. wouldn’t formally apologize for the airstrike until several investigations into the incident had made more progress.

Mr. Obama since learned new information about the airstrike and decided to apologize, Mr. Earnest said, declining to offer details.

A day earlier, Army Gen. John Campbell, the commander of U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan, said he had directed U.S. forces to undergo training on military rules of engagement, to prevent a similar mistake in the future. Gen. Campbell said the decision to strike was made within the U.S. chain of command, adding that the U.S. would never intentionally strike a hospital.

The U.S. strike, on Oct. 3, came in the midst of a U.S. military intervention in support of Afghan troops after the Taliban stormed Kunduz city more than a week ago, effectively controlling it for three days. Since then, pro-government forces have struggled to completely clear the city from the insurgency. Afghan troops controlled most of Kunduz city on Wednesday, including its center, even as sporadic fighting continued in parts of the city and its outskirts. As Afghan troops battled insurgents Oct. 3, they asked U.S. Special Forces personnel assisting nearby to request air support, U.S. military officials have said. A U.S. AC-130 gunship arrived shortly afterward, and the strike on the hospital compound followed.

American officials initially said U.S. forces requested the airstrikes, but changed that account on Monday, saying Afghan units sought the support.

Zafar Hashemi, a spokesman for Mr. Ghani, confirmed on Wednesday that Afghan forces had requested the airstrike. “On the specifics of the hospital incident, we are working with our international partners to fully and transparently investigate it,” he said. “We cannot make further comments while the investigation is going on.”

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