March 13, 2015

Why We Need to Keep Forces in Afghanistan

By Michèle Flournoy

Your March 9 editorial “No Cause to Delay the Afghan Pullout” ignores the compelling logic of a broad, bipartisan consensus in the national security community and Congress: that a full United States military withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of 2016 will unnecessarily squander hard-won gains of the last 13 years and fall short of what is necessary to protect our security in the future.
 
It’s true that Afghanistan still faces enormous challenges, but our continuing presence to train, advise and assist the Afghan National Security Forces and conduct targeted counterterrorism operations gives Afghans a realistic chance to keep building on their already significant progress: historic advances for women, civil society and economic opportunity.
 
The new government of President Ashraf Ghani and the chief executive, Abdullah Abdullah, has made a promising start in addressing the challenges identified in your editorial. They deserve the opportunity to succeed that our support would give them. If the United States withdraws according to the current timetable, instability and insecurity will almost certainly increase, probably returning some regions to the brutality of Taliban rule and to reinfiltration by terrorist groups.
 
Read the full article at The New York Times
  • Michèle Flournoy

    Chief Executive Officer, CNAS

    Michèle Flournoy is Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS).  She served as the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy from Febr...