2015 and beyond…

2011 is looking less and less like the date of any meaningful pullback from our Afghanistan commitment:

Mark Sedwill, NATO’s top civilian representative to Afghanistan, said earlier today that the security transition to Afghan control in parts of the country could go into “2015 and beyond,” commenting that 2014 is a “goal” which is “realistic but not guaranteed” (emphasis added)

And more:

Sedwill said the number of NATO troops — currently at around 130,000 — may not be heavily reduced by that date, but the mission will shift to focus on training and advising Afghan troops.

“This is the point about 2014, it’s not an end of mission. It’s not even a complete change of mission, but it is an inflection point where the balance of the mission would have shifted.”

It’s not clear what will happen when/if coalition partners start pulling out their forces.  Canada and the Netherlands have stated an intent to pull out combat forces but who knows…maybe that’ll go the way of 2011.

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2 responses to “2015 and beyond…

  1. I can’t get over this stupidity. “We can’t give an end date because it will embolden the Taliban, but we’re going to be there for another ten years.” We still let this operation run on as if politics and resources have no impact on the lack of progress in Afghanistan. My prediction, if Obama doesn’t start pulling troops out in 2011, he’s going to be voted out of office.

    Or at least I used to think that, before this 2010 election confirmed that the American public doesn’t really give a crap about foreign policy or deficit spending. What an insane way to run a war.

  2. I think you’re correct, that given the elections of 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010 there’s simply little evidence that poor military policy translates to anything at the ballot box.

    I’m remain unconvinced that a long term commitment was unforeseeable (given the far reaching and highly ambitious goals) in the past or current administration and so this continual shifting of the goal posts seems more and more disingenuous and manipulative every time we go around.

    And despite all that (and much, much more)…my cognitive dissonance on this issue STILL has me on the fence.

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