August 09, 2019

The U.S. Abandoned Iraq. Don’t Repeat History in Afghanistan

By David H. Petraeus and Vance Serchuk

The announcement of a peace agreement between the U.S. and the Taliban is said to be imminent, after years of combat and months of negotiation. The U.S. will reportedly promise to reduce its military presence in Afghanistan in exchange for a Taliban commitment to cooperate against international terrorism and enter direct talks with the Afghan government.

For Americans as well as Afghans, any possibility of settling this conflict is cause for hope. But even as citizens in both countries pray for peace, leaders in Washington must proceed with caution. While diplomatic progress with the Taliban may justify a reduction in U.S. force levels, under no circumstances should the Trump administration repeat the mistake its predecessor made in Iraq and agree to a total withdrawal of combat forces from Afghanistan.

A complete military exit from Afghanistan today would be even more ill-advised and risky than the Obama administration’s disengagement from Iraq in 2011. Iraq had largely been stabilized by the time the last U.S. combat elements left, with al Qaeda having been routed during the 2007 surge. In Afghanistan, by contrast, the Taliban are far from defeated, while some 20 foreign terrorist organizations like al Qaeda and ISIS retain a presence in the region. It is unlikely that any will join a peace deal.

Read the full article in The Wall Street Journal.

  • Commentary
    • Defense One
    • September 17, 2019
    The U.S. Military is Not, and Can Never Be, Afghanistan’s Police

    In 1829, the father of modern policing, Sir Robert Peel, established “Peel’s Principles” to describe the role of police at large. Almost 200 years later, policing has changed ...

    By COL Sarah Albrycht

  • Podcast
    • September 10, 2019
    Ending the war in Afghanistan

    Christopher D. Kolenda joins The World and Everything in It to discuss the latest developments in talks between the United States and the Taliban. Listen to the full conversa...

    By Christopher D. Kolenda

  • Podcast
    • August 30, 2019
    The Key Role Pakistan Is Playing In U.S.-Taliban Talks

    A bomb parked under the preacher's pulpit in a mosque likely had a high-profile target: a brother of the Taliban leader. It was seen by the Taliban as a warning to stop their ...

    By Stephen Tankel

  • Commentary
    • The Atlantic
    • August 2, 2019
    Don’t Peg Troop Withdrawals to the Political Calendar

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made news this week by suggesting that President Donald Trump has instructed him to pursue troop reductions in Afghanistan by Election Day 2020....

    By Richard Fontaine

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia