More U.S. Troops Seen Staying in Afghanistan

Signs that the Taliban is divided over whether to engage in talks and a resilient Qaeda presence have upended plans to drop the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Comments: 90

  1. What a waste of American lives.

  2. Comments against will flow by the hundreds. What else is there to say however that hasn't been said in futility? It is past time to blame politicians and the military for these fiascos. It is the responsibility of the American people to stop our hyper-militarism and the American people will not do so. Carl, Portland

  3. Opera dog, what should "the American public" do? I voted for Obama...we're still there. Vote for a Republican? That certainly won't help. What steps can we take to stop this wasted effort?

  4. Will this insanity never end? We are destroying our country's moral compass, our nation's wealth, and our children's future. The tragedy of endless war plays out before our eyes and we seem powerless to stop it.

  5. Start the draft. There will be rebellion in the streets and the insanity will stop.

  6. The writing is on the wall for Afghanistan's future. The US has lost blood and treasure for over a decade in a futile battle. Americans cannot make Afghani forces loyal to them, nor can they defeat the Taliban's strategic advantages. The withdrawal should be done carefully for the safety of troops, but beyond that, it's time to accept reality and cut our losses.

  7. Woulda, shoulda, coulda... We could have done this right if we'd been determined and stayed focused (instead of invading Iraq, courtesy of Wolfowitz & co.). We need to be done with this at some point.

  8. Obama will end his term with American troops and planes still in Afghanistan and Iraq, and in Syria. The war has been defined in such a way that it cannot end. Some people may take comfort in the fact that there is not as large a Western military presence as existed during Bush's presidency. I don't: At best, this is a continuing, low-level war on terror that is guided by the same, misguided thinking and objectives.

  9. Why should American bodies be forced to bear the brunt of centuries of conflict, after a decade of doing so?

    They and their families can't change much about the future of Afghanistan and rather than being corralled further, they should be saluted for a job (very) well done, and welcomed home.

  10. Even worse, we don't expect to accomplish anything. We'll just leave a skeleton force to "send a message." Of course, by now they've heard our message loud and clear: America is a paper tiger. So we'll leave some young boys there, on the line at great risk with no possible positive outcome. I wouldn't want to be in their boots.

  11. How can the "national security interest" in Afghanistan be to take away "safe havens for Qaeda" when ISIS, Qaeda, and anyone else flying a pirate flag has safe havens all throughout the Levant and now Africa too?

    This continued adventurism is juicing the military contractor economy on Wall Street, not addressing national security. If it wasn't before, Obama should know now, in its teenage years, this is a dumb war.

  12. Slowing the withdrawal is the most prudent strategy Obama could follow. It offers the least risk to American troops while supporting those willing to fight the Islamists. The US could, of course, withdraw completely from engaging in the battle. Let the world do as it wished. That might prove to be the riskiest strategy of all.

  13. What a surprise, eh? The US is not pulling out of Afghanistan after all? Who'd have guessed?

  14. I am shocked, shocked that Obama consistently said one thing, then does another.

  15. Both China and Russia are keen on having a stable Afghanistan! While Russia had had its fingers burned there and tries not to get itself involved again, China has been busy, getting the Taliban to the negotiating table and dissuading Pakistan's intelligence from supporting insurgency in Afghanistan. Beijing aims to promote its Silk Road project for economic development in the region. It also tries to prevent the Uighurs in the Xinjiang province from being radicalised by the Taliban.
    Ashraf Ghani is shrewd that he wants both China and the US to come on board to help stabilise his country! It takes time to achieve his goal!

  16. notice the Russians left Afghan. And what happened ? They had tribe on tribe fighting just like they've always had for thousands of years. Nothing changed. It's what they do. But the Russians got out, and for that the Russians are better off. So what's our problem? Why don't we leave? Afghan will be no worse, no better, nothing will change for them. But we will be better off. And then maybe we can fix some schools and bridges around here.

  17. What objectives have the unending war in Afghanistan accomplished? Where a targeted police action against bin Laden was called for, a war with no end is apparent. Saudi Arabia (and many, many of its supporters of religious extremists) gave more material support to the perpetrators of September 2001, but they were well protected from any consequences of their actions. Meanwhile, a whole new army of jihadists has been created by U.S. interventions in Syria (often aiding religious extremists in the case of Syria as proxies) and Iraq as a offshoot of this war. Orwellian! A nation permanently at war, while domestic needs go unaddressed.

  18. We have done more to foster the spread of terrorism than Saudi or any other entity. It was like a pimple to start. Now the world is septic with multiple pockets of pus. This includes Tunisia,Yemen, Syria, Iraq to name a few. The Taliban are patient. When we leave they will take over. Pakistan will explode. If we retreat in time and admit defeat, the ongoing Sunni Shia civil war will eliminate the terrorist threat. Sorry to those groups I failed to cite, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan. I have to keep this focused, Also I note the spread to France and Belgium and remain apprehensive re the fall of Europe. Arab Spring leading to European winter.

  19. As long as the United States of Wall Street keeps its citizens' eyes on the latest iBling, Idol, and viral selfie with characteristic Pavlovian laser focus, the bloodshed will continue.

    It's past time for the draft, and one that includes women and doesn't allow deferments based on fortunate son status, to be the shiniest object in the room. Maybe then attention will be paid to this nasty, unconscionable, dire situation.

  20. Full reporting requires the Times to note that only one U. S. soldier has died in Afghanistan in 2015. One is too many, but it is a remarkable and noteworthy change from the past.

    The Taliban continue to collarborate with elements of Al Queda. The United States must eradicate Al Queda for the sake of civilization. Now that the U. S. has a trustworthy partner in the Afghanistan government, the continued effort is worth the relatively low cost.

    At some point, the Taliban will realize that they can never safely lead a government in any province unless they break their ties with terrorists. The Times says it is the longest war. No, it is a well-contained military achievemnt, far short of an all-out war that puts many of our people at risk.

  21. Whether President Obama increases or decreases troop strength, or extends our final withdraw or speeds it up. in the long run it will make little difference. All the insurgents have to do is what they have been doing, just hunker down, play at negotiating, bide their time as disillusionment wears down our resolve. They are exempt from election cycles, changes in adminstrations and opinion polls. Just as in Vietnam, it's the eternal battle bewtween the hedgehog and the fox. Though the fox knows many things, the hedgehog know one great thing, to quote a famous adage from Sir Isaiah Berlin.

  22. President Obama is learning one lesson at a time. I wish he could just accept the fact that much of the world is not set up for his magical thinking.

  23. And I wish Republicans had enough spine to admit that George W. Bush should never have left such a mess for others to clean up.

  24. Republicans have already begun to clean up Obama's mess, we'll finish by ~2018. Get a sensible couch and lots of popcorn.

  25. Great!

    Obama agrees with Bush and Cheney!

    Iran is going to make a deal with us while still working on atomic bombs.

    Obama is going to wipe out ISIS terrorists by bombing Iraq and supporting the Syrian rebels.

    Who told him to withdraw the U.S. military from Iraq to begin with?

    Military analyst Andrew Bacevich said, “What I see is an administration that is content to manage the quagmire that we’ve managed to get ourselves into.”

    As Hardy repeatedly told Laurel in the film comedies, "A fine mess you've got us into," always blaming everyone else except himself for the trouble he could have avoided to begin with.

    Staying the course president Bush and Dick Cheney originally set or a variation therof would have avoided all the mess we're in now all over the world because the success of ISIS has encouraged other Muslims to join.

    Same with Afghanistan.

    Now it’s Obama’s big mess.

  26. Yes, it will be his mess. Afghanistan was always the war he supported and all of the "unintended consequences" he likes to talk about will be his burden.

  27. The Obama administration had not done enough to counter the terrorism in Afghanistan perhaps there is no contribution of American coalition Air strikes to hunt down the Al Qaeda members and Taliban's.

  28. Anyone else note that the trees in the photo are pruned?

  29. This afternoon I went for a bike ride and stopped at a local soldier's memorial honoring Staff Sgt. Thomas Fogarty, who died while defusing IEDs in Afghanistan on May 6, 2012. He had 12 years of experience. I stop by infrequently to honor him, sometimes the stone I leave has been removed by my next visit.

    Our son served in Afghanistan in 2014 in the same role. He had a 'quiet' tour closing down FOBs, taking incoming at Rocket City, clearing tons of ordnance dating to WWII, long road trips, etc. But several soldiers from his brigade or with whom he trained were killed, one from a bomb dropped from a US plane.

    Imagine what it would be like to be the parents of Thomas Fogarty or the thousands of other parents. He was protecting civilians and soldiers from IEDs, but exactly what are we gaining strategically continuing this into 2015?

  30. Excellent reporting. Very depressing on a number of levels. The president probably thinks he is making the best of a very bad situation. Afghanistan was relatively neglected for so long last decade that we really lost any hope of trying to improve the lives of its people. The Karzai government also became a bigger problem as time went on. During the '08 campaign, especially in the general election, Mr. Obama made a point of saying that Afghanistan was the good or correct fight, in contrast to Iraq. However he really felt, his rhetoric from that time left him little room to maneuver once he entered office and made it much more difficult to simply withdraw early in his term. Once again we're trying to draw "sharp lines" between engaged forces and once again the reality is that "distinctions on the ground are more blurred." Indeed, this is Afghanistan.

  31. "American commanders have similarly called for a slower withdrawal. But Mr. Obama's wariness of his military's judgement on Afghanistan runs deep".

    This is absolutely frightening. The Commander in Chief is wary of the judgement of his military commanders, seemingly, one would think, the military experts. If he can't trust them then he should get new commanders, or change his attitude.

    It is only because Mr. Ghani's willingness to work with the US has been a "big deal" for Mr. Obama, and Mr. Ghani seeks a slower withdrawal, that the President is willing to consider the matter.

    Thus, a political consideration trumps the expert US military view.

    At least the US military and Mr. Ghani are on the same page on this.

  32. With the Republican-controlled Congress having voted to raise the cap in military spending, there's even less urgency to pull out of conflicts now, isn't there?

  33. It wasn't Obama, who started this war, so I doubt that it will end with Obama at the helm. He's just doing what he was told by those, who need this war to go on. I've seen it so many times, two absolutely different stories: "war in Afghanistan is over" and "We send more troops to the Afghanistan". And they appear each after each every month or so, so I don't have any illusions about how dirty this war is.

  34. We can't help them any more.

    When the kids get back from the honeymoon it is up to the two of them to make it work. We paid for the wedding and the honeymoon but now they must live on love.

    Let the Afghans run their own country.

  35. Another example of the highly predictable impact of the defective policymaking and planning that characterize foreigh policy in this administration.

  36. The article states the (Afghan) Taliban's main focus is toppling the Afghan government and that forecasted delays in withdrawing US forces result in part from another false start in peace negotiations (with the group whose main focus is toppling that nominally national government) and in part because of that group's battlefield successes. Uh...... duh.

    As far as fears learned from the Iraqi Army collapse after year$ of training, attributed to faulty command structures from patronage and other corruption, I guess those weaknesses didn't manifest themselves until after training ended and US forces withdrew. That army's collapse was an unanticipated complete surprise.

  37. >

    Surprise!!!??? We'll never remove ourselves from this quicksand.

    Live and learn.

    "The Afghans are a brave, hardy, and independent race; they follow pastoral or agricultural occupations only, eschewing trade and commerce, which they contemptuously resign to Hindus, and to other inhabitants of towns. With them, war is an excitement and relief from the monotonous occupation of industrial pursuits."

    Friedrich Engels

  38. Forever War is going to be a key part of President Obama's legacy. Right up there with government secrecy and lack of accountability for major corporate crimes.

    And the prospect is that whomever is elected president in 2016 will continue such policies.

  39. Another empire has buried itself in Afghanistan.

  40. Obama needs to come clean with the American people in this decision rather than avoid the subject. What is our clear objective, and how does this affect our national security? As an occupying presence we wil remain a recruiting tool for insurgent forces. Mr Obama now is the time to put a positive spin on our military involvement and leave Afganistain

  41. Just yet another lie from BHO! No one, not even us liberals, can trust him. Tell me: when does he leave office?

  42. The blood of Americas children should not be used to prop up defense contractor stocks.
    Bring back the draft with no exceptions. Until 1%ers kids fill body bags the endless war syndrome will continue.
    And stop giving the thieves we prop up to rule there more weapons. They will just be used against us.
    This reminds me of the old "For What" anti vietnam war ad.

  43. There has never been, and there will never be, a draft without exceptions. During WWII and the Vietnam debacle deferments were available for health conditions, family situations and in the latter for students attending college. Again, with reference to the Vietnam adventure, health deferments were granted on the say-so of psychologists, orthodontists and in at least one case proctologists.

    Believing a new draft could be implemented without deferments is delusional and expecting the sons and daughters of the "1%" to fill body bags is laughable. Sure, let's provide the military with hundreds of thousands of new conscripts, just to prove a point. And just as nature abhors a vacuum, the military and its allies in industry and congress, will be seeking new wars to fight with all these available young bodies.

    Be careful what you wish for.

  44. No public announcement of troop numbers? No final decision made? The president should just come clean instead of playing games about our remaining in Afghanistan.

    He campaigned on ending the war. He, of all people, should understand how this represents a change in his position. He needs to explain why he believes he should keep our soldiers there. Americans deserve to at least hear it from him.

  45. Explain again: Why are we in Afghanistan? For what possible reason are we still there?

  46. Planes are hijacked by al-Qaeda members and flown into the World Trade Center in New York City, The Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania, killing 2,996 people.

  47. Americans got used to wars which were incredibly violent, killed millions, devastated masses of nations but thankfully of short-lived duration. But history is replete with wars and conflicts that stretched for decades and into hundreds of years. Short wars are the anomaly - long the norm.

    It all depends on the nature of the conflicts. Conflicts between Muslim nations against Western Europe, in particular, persisted for hundreds of years and involved giant sea and land battles. To argue against US troops fighting in Afghanistan or Iraq is to joust with reality. Our troops are there because they have to be there to protect our security. It doesn't matter if this goes on for decades as an argument for ending involvement.

    Especially as these wars, using small forces - and ten thousand is small - have relatively minor impact on the overall military budget there is no strain to our budget; unless one ideologically is opposed to military spending. The president has done what needed to be done, even risking his credibility. But he has accepted that this fight will not end anytime soon; and so should the rest of us.

  48. As painful or incredible as it might seem to many of this paper's readers, there is a war against terror, continuing; because there is terror that is global and that is continuing. I realize many readers voted for Obama because he promised to end this war and because he also promised to get us out of Iraq. His plans and promises have come smack up against reality. He will lose support as a result. But he will also be a better President because of facing this hard reality.

    History will judge Mr Obama when his term is concluded. But this reader and supporter of Mr Obama's effort believes he is correct to stay in Afghanistan. Obama still has a chance to redeem himself regarding terrorism and the global conflict with the psychotic jihadis.

    I for one will be watching with great interest over the next year and a half as he attempts to do so.

  49. More likely the president cannot allow Afghanistan to become another Iraq, especially after his claims about having responsibly ended the war in Iraq and claiming he would do the same in Afghanistan.

  50. In case anyone is wondering (as was I) how many "thousands of contractors" the DoD has in Iraq, the number is 66,123.

    That's right folks. You and I are paying for 66,123 people over andabove the number of American military in Afghanistan.

    I stumbled across a site called 'Dangerzonejobs' which seems to be a recruiter for civilians to work in war zones. It also lists the new contracts issued by the US militaty to specific companies for specific amounts (millions) in various nations.

    Look it up to help figure out where the DoD budget is really going.

    And John McCain and the other warmongers and chicken hawks, mostly republicans, want to cut money from our American safety net in order to uo the military budget.

  51. "There's a partner there now, and the thinking is we should help" an official stated. That is the most pathetic statement ever uttered, in the rather bleak history of US foreign relations. This implies, the sacrifice make by so many of American youth, in the past, fighting when Karzai was president, looses it's luster. American people have a right to know, how long does it take to train the Afghan people to become capable of defending themselves? Will the Afghan military ever be able to stand on it's own? If the past is any indication, the answer is no! Current Predident Ghani sought flexibility in the timetable for the withdrawal of our troops, so to sweeten the pot, he gave his okay for nighttime bombing raids. Sort of like throwing a dog a bone!
    I can still picture in my mind, a much younger Barack Obama, sleeves rolled up, bounding up stairs to a podium, and stating he would " end this endless war", yet, we are still mired in the morass, that is Afghanistan! That area had defeated the British Empire, and the ruthless war machine of the Soviet Union. How foolish and naive to think we would fare any better.
    As long as we have an economy based on military spending, we will be doomed to fighting " endless wars"
    Tom Franzson. Brevard. NC

  52. Incredibly, EIGHT YEARS after "yes we can" took the helm commenters here are still blaming Bush!!! Absolutely delusional.

  53. Lucky Obama. If they blame Bush, military contractors and even republicans in Congress, they'll give him a pass, and he won't have to explain why he's not withdrawing troops. I'd like to hear his explanation.

  54. Odd is the mindset that gives W a pass for putting the US in Afghanistan while railing against Obama for not cleaning up the mess to that mindset's liking.

    It's also quite lazy, but then, such is the GOP.

  55. Rhetoric vs Reality. I thought Iraq was the 'stupid' war and Afghanistan was defined by Obama as the war we need to fight his intelligent way. Both seem equally stupid to me - that's a reference to the handling of the situations, not the need for intervention. I cannot get over the concept of declaring when you will end a war when you begin it, and how many troops you will leave. So bizarre and obviously ineffective. I totally agree with all the comments about the waste of American lives.
    This Islamic cause - the forming of a Caliphate without borders - has bled to too many countries to be fought the 'normal' way and drones are not the answer. Drones dispatched to countries that we are not at war with and sent to execute kill lists are unAmerican - just as unAmerican as Gitmo.
    There has to be a better leader - a statesman - and a better strategy.

  56. The Taliban, Al Queda, ISIS, you name it. We just keep "sending them over" - our troops that is.

    And in the meanwhile, we don't have money for US schools, food stamps, unemployment, frail elderly, physically and develpmentally disabled, infrastructure, the environment - we're down right broke, correct?

    I got to the part about the Taliban usually hunkering down when their passages are blocked by snow, but this year the fighting in the winter has been more intense. So - we're sending more troops and/or keeping them longer, (some of which get maimed or killed) and we're sending more money, (some of which could be spent in the US for citizens here) because the Taliban have the audacity to keep fighting in the cold and snow?

    There's something very wrong with this picture. Instead of getting on with our own country, are we (and we seem to be the only country interested in doing so) just living our lives and figuring out our budgets because the fighting winter in Afghanistan has not turned out the way we thought it would?

    This is getting to be outrageous and ridiculous. Wondering if the folks whose families were affected by 9/11 would even want the US to continue doing this in the "name of terrorism."

  57. We are playing into the wisdom of the Bin Laden plan.

  58. Rather than pursuing our Al Qaeda enemies, we tried to rebuild an Afghan nation by supporting various local warlords - and after all these years, even our accomplishments in the area of education for girls and so on are still totally fragile. I've heard that back in the 20th century, before the Soviet invasion, Afghanistan was actually a pleasant place to visit. At this point I'm afraid we just have to get out altogether, leave it to the Taliban if it comes to that, and take care of our national security in the ways that would have prevented 9/11 in the first place - intelligence.

  59. This was a no-win war since the beginning. The war-mongers in this country will never learn.

  60. If we are ever to get out of, or complete a war without a total loss of time, material and more importantly, American lives, we need to privatize the armed forces of the U.S.

  61. your joking, right?

  62. The US government has for years refused to recognize that countries in the ME have far different goals and ideals than we do. We often miss the mark on the things we claim to believe in but our worst decisions are made in the arrogant belief that everyone thinks as we do. They don't, they won't and we cannot force them to. We need to stop. Stop wasting our time, money and American Lives in countries where they don't want us or our democracy.

    We need to nation build at home.

    Afghans are still burning people for insulting a book, albeit the Koran but it's a book! We should not be supporting a country where this behavior is acceptable and that includes Saudi Arabia and many many others in the ME. We haven't even made a dent.

  63. The United States maintained and still maintains forces in Western Europe and Japan more than 70 years after the end of WWII. More than 38,000 American troops and combat brigade teams are stationed in South Korea. The United States Navy is deployed, combat ready above and below all the oceans of the world.
    The current administration would like to end our responsibility and commitment to world peace. Mr. Obama after more than 6 years in office still cannot grasp the necessity of maintaining American forces, some in combat roles, throughout the world. We live in complex and extremely dangerous world. It is even more dangerous now than during the cold war. Terrorist organization are ready, willing and able to strike United States interests abroad and our homeland as well.
    It is far better to confront our enemies far from our shores and destroy them before another 9/11 attack slaughters more innocent Americans.
    It is not pleasant that American forces must constantly be on alert, prepared to engage and in some places be continually engaged combatting terrorists and enemy forces. However it will be far more unpleasant and costly to endure a devastating attack on the United States homeland.
    America, like it or not, assures that the world is at peace. America assures that World War III is not imminent. This is a costly, long-term responsibility. But if we fail to accept the challenges and responsibility of a great power the consequences to us and others will be disaster.

  64. The tribes will continue fighting each other, whether we stay or not.

  65. I was in Afghanistan 2011 when Obama instituted his Afghanistan withdraw plan and everyone there could see it is a flawed plan whose main purpose is to shore up his political standings at home so he can claim to be ending the War. Now Afghanistan is a debacle waiting to happen. It is too late to stop it. The only thing the token US Force will do now is to delay the debacle for Obama until his term is finished so as to avoid another foreign policy embarrassment. There is not enough force there to change anything, only enough force to get more troops get killed for no good reason except to save Obama's political standings

  66. When will Obama and his spokespeople stop their Orwellian doublethink refrain of claiming our troops are not "combat" troops, they are just advisers, lounging on sofas, watching PBS while sipping herbal tea and dispensing sage advice to the ignorant locals? Haven't we seen this before with our "advisers" in Vietnam? Soldiers are soldiers. They are there to fight. Having the 2 - 3,000 fighting US infantry (or trigger-pullers in military parlance) the White House concedes will remain in Afghanistan, requires at least 7 - 8,000 combat support troops, adding up to a total which coincidentally is the number of American unformed service members who (we are told) are still in country. This administration claimed it would usher in a new Age of Aquarius of openness and transparency in government, but it has proven to be the opposite.

  67. Hopefully when we do retreat we won't leave our weapons behind.

  68. This is the first foreign policy decision by Obama that reflects any shred of military common sense. Too bad the rest of this entire foreign policies are a total disaster and speak to his being the most incompetent US president in history. The same is true of his disastrous domestic policies and now of all things he is releasing dangerous terrorists from gitmo. Yet another example of very bad decision making. The man is a hopelessly incompetent.

  69. War monger Barack Obama killing our soldiers over nothing! ?Didn't this fool win the Nobel prize for Peace?
    Why is THIS acceptable to the Left? Hypocrite? Much?
    The only way any war is over is by one side winning! Obama does NOT want to win-so we will lose, eventually.

  70. In January 2009, Commander in Chief Obama could have, should have, ordered our immediate and complete withdrawal from Afghanistan. As with Vietnam, history will judge that we would have been better off having left Afghanistan sooner than later.

  71. once again we see that president Obama has no clue on foreign policy. Announcing an almost complete pull out a year ago no matter the situation and now faced with reality on the ground as he was warned by his generals as well as many congressman. This president is clueless.

  72. The wars will never end. Never. Both of our political parties are incapable of governing- so they pursue foreign adventures. Our days of empire will end one way or another. I would far prefer our country to voluntarily move away from empire but eventually we will have to whether our leaders want us to or not. Are citizens prepared to pay more in taxes? No. Our citizens prepared to give up their social security? No. But without one we will have the other. I am not sure if the average American voter understand the ramifications our empire building has on our collective future. We can be an empire without a strong country domestically or we can be a strong county domestically but not an empire. We cannot be both.

  73. The President mucked up the withdrawl in Iraq and should wisely heed the advice of military professionals on Afghanistan. Whether one agrees with the war is irrelevant because this needs to be seen through to the end.

  74. The Empire of Chaos strikes again - more War!

    Since the Korean War the US has spent $20 Trillion on the military and the debt is $18 Trillion.

    What has 90% of Americans received for all that besides a mountain of debt?

  75. Since Vietnam the United States has been fighting enemies that were funded, trained, and given refuge by other countries.

    Until we attack the source these wars will go on indefinitely and we will never win.

  76. Once again Obama is turning out to be another Bush and Cheney with a D next to his name he is another joke.

  77. Is this a done deal? Why is it being done in secret and why no policy debate? Why can't Obama get his story straight. And why do we think we can accomplish in another few years why we haven't in over a decade? Surely this is just the Pentagon playing the endless war game. Stop it!

  78. When the US finally withdraws, Afghanistan will be ravaged by the Taliban yet again. There nothing anyone can do about this.

    So Obama is going to leave the US troops there until after the election so that he and the Democrats are not blamed for the inevitable civil war and massacre that will ensue.

    Just like what happened in Iraq.

  79. Since there are so few families bearing the burden of this war, unlike how it was in Vietnam, We can continue to have people under fire and most of the US goes on about their business. Either we do as we did in Germany and Japan and go for the long haul or we get out and let the chips fall where they may. Can't have it both ways.

  80. Democrats are to busy altering the domestic social landscape. They only fight with placards, video cameras and tweets. Victory is couched in same sex marriage and forcing small businesses to bake traditional wedding cakes for them. Hows that gays in the military accommodation working out? No numbers have been made public.

  81. Wait, didn't Obama say the war in Afghanistan was over and that our troops were coming home?

  82. There is only one outcome. The only question for us is how many more American lives will be needlessly sacrificed.

  83. If while racked by self appointed pontification, Gene 99 is compelled to formulate "the only question" then, so we are all aware, could he at least ask it with a question mark?

  84. "Senior Obama administration officials broadly concluded during meetings over the last week that many of the roughly 10,000 troops and thousands of civilian contractors in Afghanistan would be needed well into 2016,…"

    I presume that if the troops go the contractors go as well. It would be very informative to see the details the scope of this "civilian" component and on how much money is being made and who is profiting from this commercial undertaking.

    Would also like to know the scope of the continuing "coalition" presence, thought NATO was done, obviously America is not.

    "To help Afghan forces, American commanders have also interpreted their mandate to target any insurgent, Taliban or otherwise, who intends to attack coalition or Afghan forces, allowing them to go after Taliban commanders and other insurgents."

    Sounds very like mission creep. Who actually thought it was possible to definitively separate the Taliban from the remnants of Qaeda and, or, the infiltration of an ISIS inspired dynamic? Given the monumental spread of Islamic extremism vis a vis IS and allied elements, it is hard to swallow the notion that what is happening in Afghanistan actually constitutes a pressing threat to the security of the american homeland or our significant interests abroad.

    The Bush, Cheney, Neocon legacy rolls on and the American public just keeps sucking it up.

  85. More war from the Nobel Peace prize winner.

  86. The two major political parties just deliver more of the same thing, even when it doesn't work. Vote third party, folks. You may not win many elections with your vote then, but you'll sleep a lot better knowing you did the right thing.

  87. ISIS and the Taliban at this time pose no existential threat to the US.

    Afghanistan is not an important source for anything the US or its allies need, except for opium poppy production which is actually up rather than down because of the unwillingness of our politiicans to just weed-killer spray the stuff.

    ISIS can be contained and rendered ineffective by a real drone reconnaissance and air strike campaign, not the half-hearted, under-resourced one going on now. And in any case, ISIS is first and foremost a problem for the Middle East countries.

    Get our troops out of Afghanistan. It is a medieval, tribal country that is not about to change. If training camps for terrorists are set up again, go back to an airstrike campaign and use special forces targeted missions to deal with them.

  88. It is obvious that Afghanistan will collapse the minute that the troops and money leave. Obama is just trying to keep things from falling apart so Hillary isn't held accountable for the disaster she and Obama have engineered.
    Afghanistan is proof of the incompetence of Obama and Hillary and Obama is willing to kill thousands of innocent people and waste billions of dollars to keep in from falling apart before the 2016 race.

  89. What is the problem? We need to adjust to the situation. Only a fool plows ahead in the face of changing requirements. At least we have an Afghan president that we can work with. He needs to convene a Loya Jirga and get everyone on board to solve the Taliban issue.

  90. To secure a brighter future for Afghanistan why not amend US immigration law to provide free one-way transportation for all Afghan women who wish to immigrate to the United States. Bring them here, provide free housing, education, food subsidies, and a free subscription to e-harmony. They would come in droves! This Lysistrata policy would bring those vicious Taliban and other primitives in Afghanistan to a new set of insights, and will bring them kicking and screaming into the 21st Century - all at a much cheaper price than what we are now paying.