Taliban training camp in Kunduz, Afghanistan
How Many More DECADES
Will We Be In Afghanistan?
(Washington Post) - The emerging signs that the Trump administration may send thousands more U.S. troops to Afghanistan are generating a variety of reactions here, including relief at a signal of strong commitment from the new administration in Washington, and worry that it may not be enough to turn around a long, expensive war that the Taliban has fought to a draw.
“There is more fighting and more ground held by Taliban now than ever before, and increasing the troops can help reverse that,” said Abdul Bari Barakzai, a member of the government’s High Peace Council. “But people have lost their trust in the government. No matter how many troops you bring now, it will have no lasting impact unless there is real reform and good governance.”
Earlier this week, after a lengthy review, top Trump administration advisers were reported to be urging an ambitious new military role in Afghanistan, led by the Pentagon, with at least 3,000 troops added to the current 8,400, to halt the country’s deteriorating security and push the Taliban back to the negotiating table.
Such a policy would dramatically ramp up American involvement in the war, which was systematically cut back under President Barack Obama. By the end of 2014, most U.S. and NATO forces had left the country, leaving Afghan troops struggling to hold off a determined Taliban insurgency, at a loss of life that a U.S. watchdog group recently called “shockingly high.”
No one in Afghanistan, though, sees the insurgents as operating in a vacuum. Rather, the insurgents are viewed as capitalizing on widespread perceptions that the state is weak, corrupt, consumed with internal and external rivalries, and unable to deliver services, jobs, reforms and modernization.
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