Long War, Short Exit Strategy

Eight years out, the United States doesn’t seem to have a good handle on how to escape Afghanistan. Though time-lines have been discussed, the execution of these plans are still to be seen and it is more than likely that there will still be a significant portion of American citizens left behind to secure the nation and continue the rebuilding process. However, with leadership like Karzai, its hard to feel confident that Afghanistan won’t break into a thousand pieces once the Americans eventually leave. Sustainable peace (or even security) in Afghanistan comes when the people are capable to govern and protect themselves.

How does a country like the United States, which has the premier military in the world and technological prowess to back up security progress, keep ending up in these quagmires? Vietnam was the Afghanistan of the previous generation and we all know how that ended. Though President Obama announced the withdrawal of Afghanistan earlier this summer, and from Iraq earlier this week, there is still a sense of suspicion over these time lines. Even though the US as a sovereign nation has the right to leave, from an international relations perspective it might not be the best decision to leave either country in such a vulnerable state. Especially with Afghanistan trying to pursue reconciliation as well as with Pakistan’s troubles spilling over, the American administration needs to have a wider reaching exit strategy that contains social and political considerations.

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