January 01, 2019

Time to Get Out of Afghanistan

By Robert D. Kaplan

The decision by President Trump to withdraw 7,000 of the roughly 14,000 American troops left in Afghanistan, possibly by summer, has raised new concerns about his impulsive behavior, especially given his nearly simultaneous decision to pull out all American forces from Syria against the advice of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. But the downsizing of the Afghan mission was probably inevitable. Indeed, it may soon be time for the United States to get out of the country altogether.

No other country in the world symbolizes the decline of the American empire as much as Afghanistan. There is virtually no possibility of a military victory over the Taliban and little chance of leaving behind a self-sustaining democracy — facts that Washington’s policy community has mostly been unable to accept.

While many American troops stay behind steel-reinforced concrete walls to protect themselves from the very population they are supposed to help, it is striking how little discussion Afghanistan has generated in government and media circles in Washington. When it comes to Afghanistan, Washington has been a city hiding behind its own walls of shame and frustration.

Read the full article in The New York Times.

  • Commentary
    • The Hill
    • November 20, 2019
    A fresh approach to peace in Afghanistan

    An effective peace process is possible and desirable in Afghanistan. Success, however, will require a careful, step-by-step course to test bona fides, build confidence, reduce...

    By Earl Anthony Wayne & Christopher D. Kolenda

  • Commentary
    • The Washington Post
    • November 14, 2019
    Trump was right to abandon the Taliban peace deal. Here’s what a good one would look like.

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    By David H. Petraeus & Vance Serchuk

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

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    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

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