March 25, 2015

Former Obama ambassadors against a full Afghan troop withdrawal in 2016

Featuring Michèle Flournoy

As President Obama and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani met in Washington on Tuesday, a bipartisan group of 23 former Clinton, Bush and even Obama administration ambassadors, diplomats, State Department and White House officials sent an unusual “open letter” to Obama urging that he extend the stay of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

The signatories include folks like: former White House national security advisers Sandy Berger (Clinton) and Steve Hadley (Bush); former Obama ambassadors to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker, James Cunningham and his former special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman. Others include Obama’s former undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy and Bush undersecretary of State Nick Burns.

The original Obama 2014 plan called for withdrawal of all U.S. forces by the end of 2016. But the former diplomats and officials said that “at this delicate security, political and economic juncture in Afghanistan’s transition, we believe the current security drawdown should be altered to avoid triggering a level of increased instability that could exploited by extremist forces.” The letter noted the U.S. “walked away from Afghanistan once in the past,” with calamitous results, citing the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, among others.

Read the full article at The Washington Post.


  • Michèle Flournoy

    Chair, CNAS Board of Directors, Co-founder and Managing Partner, WestExec Advisors

    Michèle Flournoy is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of WestExec Advisors, and former Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), w...