As 45 continues to weigh his options on how to proceed with America’s longest war in Afghanistan, there has been no shortage of arguments regarding U.S. involvement. Some are calling Afghanistan a lost cause, while others are suggesting that a secure Afghanistan is vital to the security of this region in South Asia
Access to a classified Intelligence Community document found that the U.S. military would need to deploy fifty thousand additional troops to shore up the Ghani government. Coming on the heels of an announcement last week where 45's internal strategy reassessment group found that between three to five thousand additional troops are necessary to break Afghanistan’s with the Taliban.
Given 45's campaign rhetoric about the military “winning,” how he defines victory in Afghanistan is of vital importance.
Writing for RealClearDefense, Jeff Goodson, a retired Foreign Service Officer with experience in Afghanistan, contends, “there is no “win” or “lose” in Afghanistan.” However, Goodson offers: “The long-running objective of ensuring that Afghanistan never again serves as a sanctuary for international terrorism serves American interests as much today as it did fifteen years ago.”
Goodson does not see that goal as one that can be relinquished to a timeline because “Afghanistan is far too important to U.S. national security for us to either walk away or let this theatre of the global jihad spin out of control from simple neglect.”
In contrast, Philip Carter, Center for New American Security, took to Slate Magazine to proffer President Trump’s “Forever War.” Carter takes a historical view of the war, reflecting on the height of the troop surge in the country and concluding: “If the U.S. could not succeed at counterinsurgency in Afghanistan with more than 100,000 troops, it is unlikely the U.S. can succeed with 12,000 troops.”
In the end, all seem to agree that a comprehensive long-term strategy is required to solve the historic perplexity that is Afghanistan.
Except Afghanistan is not going to get much better unless certain elements in Pakistan are deterred