Afghanistan, Part III: U.S. military build up begins again

WHAT IT IS

  • August 21st: President Trump announced his administration would continue the conflict in Afghanistan by sending in an undisclosed amount of American troops.
  • The plan does not have a timeline to accomplish primary goal of continued training of Afghan troops to fend off the Taliban advancement.
  • The American war in Afghanistan has been going on for 16 years now, after the Bush administration invaded post 9/11.

WHY IT MATTERS

The U.S. has been embroiled in Afghanistan for most of the 21st century. The war has been costly, both financially and militarily. Many Americans see this war as never ending, and it is hard to see an end in sight with further involvement. This plan is not dissimilar from President Trump’s predecessors, so time can only tell how effective it will be.

  • “BUILD IT UP”

    • Only training:   A majority of the troops being sent over are there to advise, assist and train Afghan forces, so less American lives will not be in the direct line of fire.
    • Russian influence:   Russia has started supporting Taliban insurgents in the North, so preventing another foreign influenced dictatorship in the Middle East is imperative.
    • Power vacuum:   An immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan would cause a power vacuum for the looming Taliban to take over.
  • “DON’T DEPLOY”

    • Home field advantage:   It is unlikely the Taliban will ever leave Afghanistan – it is their home and all they need to do is wait out the U.S.
    • State building:   President Trump claims there will be no “nation building”, but with the amount of instability in Afghanistan right now it will be difficult to see any success without a stable central government.
    • Ethnic diversity:   Afghanistan has a lot of ethnic diversity therefore difficult for an external power to get local peoples to gravitate to their mission.

WHERE WE ARE NOW

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT

  • Check out a map of Taliban and ISIS controlled areas in Afghanistan.
  • Here is a special report and analysis of the U.S. experience in Afghanistan.
  • Here is an infographic on U.S. military spending in Afghanistan.
  • Do you believe any plan for Afghanistan will succeed after 16 years of war?