Excerpt from: CREDO action
On Thursday, President Obama announced he planned to break his promise to withdraw American combat troops from Afghanistan before the end of his presidency.1
Instead of drawing down to a small force to defend the American embassy in Kabul, the United States will now leave 9,800 troops in the country to carry out airstrikes and special operations raids through 2016. After that, 5,500 troops will remain in the country through the end of the president’s term.
After 14 years of fighting, in spite of the United States spending over a trillion dollars on the war, the Taliban today controls more of the country than at any time since 2001 and Afghanistan’s corrupt, incompetent government appears incapable of surviving if it is not propped up by with significant U.S. support.2
The simple truth is that there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan. There’s nothing that 9,800 troops can do in the next year and a half that 100,000 couldn’t do in a decade of fighting. It’s time to bring our troops home – all of them.
In 2012, speaking at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, President Obama made this promise (emphasis ours):
Four years ago, I promised to end the war in Iraq. We did. I promised to refocus on the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11. And we have. We’ve blunted the Taliban’s momentum in Afghanistan, and in 2014, our longest war will be over.3
Three years later, America is once again at war in Iraq and President Obama just re-committed our country to fighting in Afghanistan until he leaves office.
President Obama’s plan kicks the can down the road and leaves the decision on whether to withdraw troops from Afghanistan for the next president. With a presidential field crowded with war hawks, that decision carries a serious risk of more endless war and escalation in Afghanistan.
The Afghan government will be no more capable of surviving and governing in 2017 than it is now. After spending an incredible $65 billion to build the Afghan Army and police, government forces simply collapsed in September in the face of a Taliban offensive in Kunduz, giving the Taliban control of its first provincial capital in 14 years.4 The Afghan government was only able to retake the city two weeks later with assistance from U.S. special forces and airstrikes.5
Moreover, the recent U.S. airstrike on Doctors Without Borders’ hospital in Kunduz – a strike that the Pentagon says was called in by Afghan soldiers – shows the risk of continuing to use American airpower to back up a corrupt government with a track record of incompetence and appalling human rights abuses.6
More American troops will not fundamentally change the equation in Afghanistan. And while we are particularly concerned about the fate of women and girls in Afghanistan, there is no indication that a continued U.S. occupation would make a positive outcome for women possible.
Osama Bin Laden is dead and the network of al-Qaida operatives that carried out the 9/11 attacks has been destroyed. It’s time to end the war in Afghanistan, not commit ourselves to more endless war.
- Tell President Obama:
“Keep your promise to end the war in Afghanistan by the time you leave office.”
- Tell President Obama: No more endless war. Go to the link below to sign the petition:
Thank you for taking action.
Zack Malitz, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets
1. Matthew Rosenberg and Michael D. Shear, “Obama Announces Halt of U.S. Troop Withdrawal in Afghanistan,” New York Times, October 15, 2015
2. Rod Norland and Joseph Goldstein, “Afghan Taliban’s Reach Is Widest Since 2001, U.N. Says,” New York Times, October 11, 2015
3. Remarks by the President at the Democratic National Convention, September 6, 2012
4. Zack Beauchamp, “Kunduz: The Taliban’s biggest victory in years, explained,” Vox, September 29, 2015
5. Rod Norland, “Taliban End Takeover of Kunduz After 15 Days, New York Times, October 13, 2015
6. World Report 2015: Afghanistan, Human Rights Watch
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