August 21, 2017

America Needs to Stay in Afghanistan

By Vance Serchuk

Nearly 16 years after the September 11 terrorist attacks, the United States is nearing a seminal moment in its involvement in Afghanistan, as President Donald Trump gathers at Camp David today with his national-security team to determine what to do about the deteriorating stalemate he inherited in South Asia.

The Trump administration is reportedly weighing several competing proposals for Afghanistan. While military commanders have recommended an increase of several thousand U.S. troops to enable increased support for the Afghan military and counterterrorism operations, the White House is also considering alternative approaches that could entail the reduction or even the complete exit of American conventional forces—relying instead on special operations forces, paramilitaries, and contractors.

To an unusual degree, the debate over the future of the Afghan war is really about its past: specifically, why a decade and a half of military operations has failed to turn the tide. It is a fair question, and President Trump has been correct to press for answers before deciding on a way ahead.

Read the full op-ed in The Atlantic.

  • Commentary
    • POLITICO Magazine
    • May 12, 2020
    What Afghanistan Can Teach Us About Fighting Coronavirus

    As worried Americans look for answers in the midst of a global pandemic, it is no surprise that many have turned to the symbols and language of war. Public officials from Gove...

    By Pat A. Basu & Dr. Jason Dempsey

  • Podcast
    • April 24, 2020
    Walk Away from the Taliban, Not Afghanistan

    General David H. Petraeus (US Army, Retired) and Vance Serchuk speak with ISW Founder and President Dr. Kimberly Kagan on the dangers of the U.S. deal with the Taliban. Liste...

    By David H. Petraeus & Vance Serchuk

  • Commentary
    • Foreign Affairs
    • April 1, 2020
    Can America Trust the Taliban to Prevent Another 9/11?

    For nearly 20 years, the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan has been sustained by a single, vital national interest: the clear and present danger of another September 11–like at...

    By David H. Petraeus & Vance Serchuk

  • Commentary
    • Austin American-Statesman
    • March 10, 2020
    The Afghan peace deal and its eerie parallels with Vietnam

    Last month marked a potential turning point in America’s 19-year war in Afghanistan. In signing a landmark peace agreement, the United States and the Taliban paved the way for...

    By Richard Fontaine

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia