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Out of Afghanistan?
U.S. Commander: Afghanistan Needs Us

General John Campbell told the Senate Armed Services Committee that, in his opinion, the United States should maintain a presence in Afghanistan for the foreseeable future, as Politico reports:

The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan is recommending a change in President Barack Obama’s plans of drawing down nearly all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2016.

Army Gen. John Campbell told a Senate panel Tuesday he has given the president options that would diverge from the current plan to withdraw all U.S. troops beyond an embassy presence in Kabul after 2016.

“Based on conditions on the ground,” Campbell said, “I do believe that we have to provide our senior leadership options different than the current plan we’re on, absolutely.”

Analyses keep changing, of course, but Campbell’s comments may be evidence that the White House is reconsidering the complete withdrawal promised by the end of President Obama’s tenure. During his remarks, Campbell acknowledged that ISIS is more established in Afghanistan than he said they were when he appeared before Congress in February. ISIS militants are locked in a struggle with the Taliban, and the Afghan government has promised to go after both groups simultaneously.
Obama’s rationale for doubling down on Afghanistan in the first place was that it was where the terrorists were. Given that the terrorists are still there, it may be difficult for him to justify a withdrawal. But our presence has lately caused a controversy, too. At the hearing, the general was also under fire for last weekend’s attack on a Doctors Without Borders hospital, which Campbell called a “mistake” but declined to discuss further. However you slice it, the whole situation doesn’t look good for the United States. As WRM wrote yesterday, the Pentagon is, at this point, “running a vast, multi-country war effort that has become unhinged from any serious strategic vision.” The uncertainty about our policy in Afghanistan is part and parcel of that failure.
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  • Pete

    Sure, Afghanistan Needs America, but does the U.S. need Afghanistan?

    for those who say ‘yes,’ I ask for how long — 100 years?

    • f1b0nacc1

      Better question for those who say ‘yes’, why?

  • Fat_Man

    The invasion of Afghanistan was a mistake. Our real enemy is Pakistan, that created and succored the Taliban and sheltered Bin Laden. We would be insane to invade Pakistan, it is a failed state and not fixable because of religious and cultural factors.

    We cannot stay in Afghanistan because the logistical situation is impossible. We must supply operations in Afghanistan either through the Stans to the North, which we can only access with Russian permission, or through enemy held territory in Pakistan.

    We must therefore get all American personnel, civil and military, out of Afghanistan where they are hostages to our enemie’s whims. Once we have done that we should bomb Pakistan’s military establishment into rubble, and tell India that Pakistan is their problem, we won’t be back.

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