By Anonymous Writer
Many of you have sacrificed in countless ways in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade. It is for this reason that many of you are qualified to hold a serious and honest discussion concerning the American withdrawal in Afghanistan in the coming months. It seems like this date has changed several times, with some saying it’s overdue and others saying we need to finish the job we started.
The American military presence is contracting across the country and new details have surfaced that further outline the withdrawal plans. President Obama announced 9,800 troops will stay in Afghanistan at the end of the year, with 1,800 responsible for counterterror missions. The remaining forces will continue to shrink until there are only several hundred American troops left and a small presence at the U.S. Embassy by the end of 2016.
With that drawdown plan in mind, 1,800 soldiers is a sizable proportion of the troops left in country to conduct counterterror ops. The remaining staff will train and advise the Afghan National Army (ANA), a force of 352,000 members, along with about 4,000 NATO members from nations including Germany, Turkey, and Italy. This leaves three lingering questions for the long-term success of our mission in Afghanistan:
- Can a force of 1,800 troops, likely special operators, control a country as large and rugged as Afghanistan?
- Can the coalition forces prepare the ANA for the immensely challenging task that lies ahead of them in the fight to rebuild their nation?
- Will the ANA be successful?
Based on your experiences in the military, do you think the United States can monitor and suppress insurgent activity while allowing the ANA to take full control over the security operations across Afghanistan? Is it time to leave the country, even if the job might not be 100% complete? It is interesting to speculate whether or not the United States could have transitioned to a much smaller force several years ago, fighting a faceless enemy with highly intelligent battlefield resources and dynamic teams of special operators. This strategy would depart from the broader “Hearts and Minds,” campaign with the Afghan people but it might have been more successful in curbing militant activity as well as coalition battlefield casualties.
If this resonates with you and your service, comment below or weigh in on the discussion here with your military network.
*These opinions belong to the Anonymous Writer and in no way reflect the views of RallyPoint.