Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Mr. President, Why Is the U.S. Still in Afghanistan?!?!

The Washington Post reports that:
The last of the 33,000 troops Obama dispatched to Afghanistan in 2009 will head home at the end of September. Senior administration officials said Tuesday that, though no specific future troop levels have been determined, a “steady reduction” will follow over the next two years.  
Obama’s timeline calls on Afghan security forces to take the lead in combat operations by the end of next year. All U.S. troops are scheduled to leave by the end of 2014, except for trainers who will assist Afghan forces and a small contingent of troops with a specific mission to combat al-Qaeda through counterterrorism operations.  
In his remarks, Obama emphasized that the United States will not seek permanent military bases in Afghanistan, a country that for centuries has fiercely opposed foreign interlopers... 
Those U.S. trainers and Special Operations troops that remain beyond 2014 will live on Afghan bases. Senior administration officials said the agreement is meant to send a signal to the Taliban that they cannot “wait out” the international presence, which is supporting a fragile Afghan government.   
“The goal I set to defeat al-Qaeda and deny it a chance to rebuild is now within reach,” Obama said.
Karzai has long requested reassurance from Obama that U.S. support would not wane after 2014. The agreement commits Obama to ask Congress for money to support Afghanistan through 2024, but it does not specify the amount of annual aid...  
The accord is designed to promote the training of Afghan forces, a reconciliation and reintegration process for Taliban fighters who leave the battlefield, and regional stability with a focus on improving relations with Pakistan. A second senior administration official, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity, called it “a crucial component to bring the war to an end responsibly.”  
..Americans have not outlined what the U.S. troop presence will look like beyond 2014, and NATO has yet to specify its long-term financial commitment to the Afghan security forces. That topic will be a focal point of the NATO summit in Chicago this month.
Al Qaeda has been defeated in Afghanistan. According to a 2009 ABC news report, less than 100 Al Qaeda fighters remain in Afghanistan. Far less probably remain now. Osama Bin Laden is dead, and he was found in another country, Pakistan. After approximately 10 years of war, why is the United States still in Afghanistan? 2014, really? 2024, really?

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