American forces and their Afghan allies, together with a broad international coalition, removed the Taliban, who had controlled most of Afghanistan, from power in 2001, thereby denying al-Qaeda, which was responsible for the September 11 Terrorist Attacks, and other Islamist terrorists the safe harbor the Islamist Taliban had provided. U.S. troops have trained Afghan troops and continued to help them fight the Taliban, al-Qaeda and other Islamists to prevent the Taliban from returning to power in Afghanistan and turning it once again into a safe haven for Islamist terrorists.
A residual American force will remain until the end of 2016, unlike after President Barack Obama withdrew American forces from
after failing to obtain a status of forces agreement, which allowed Islamists
to conquer vast swaths of Iraq
and establish a quasi-state. Other
coalition partners are also remaining in Afghanistan until they complete a
American involvement in the war in
is still ongoing. As the Afghan civil
war is a battle subsumed by the War on Terrorism, U.S. drone strikes against
al-Qaeda, the Taliban and other Islamist terrorists in the Afghanistan-Pakistan
Theater of operations will continue.
American forces will continue to be involved directly or indirectly in
the Afghan civil war. In addition to
training and providing other support to the Afghan government, American troops
would back-up Afghan forces, if necessary, and, as always, defend themselves
from any attacks by the enemy, just as they did recently in Iraq.
U.S. goal must be to prevent the Taliban from
regaining control of Afghanistan
and providing a safe haven for terrorists like al-Qaeda or other Islamists
again. Strategic decisions on the
timetable of any withdrawal of the remaining American forces should be
determined by professional military leaders, based upon the conditions in
theater, not Obama’s political considerations.
The schedule of withdrawal, if any, ought not to be announced to the
enemy in advance, lest it wait out the withdrawal of U.S.
forces to attack the Afghan government, as in Iraq. The strategy of the Islamists has obviously
been to kill enough American soldiers to wear down public support for the war
to force political leaders to withdraw military forces prematurely—a strategy
that cannot be allowed to succeed.
American servicemen have accomplished their mission and have made the American people and all the people of the world safer, for which we must express our praise and gratitude. May the
U.S. and its allies have the fortitude and
courage to see through victory to the end in Afghanistan and the War on