Small Wars Journal

It’s Time to Get Out of Afghanistan. Here’s How.

It’s Time to Get Out of Afghanistan. Here’s How. By Fareed Zakaria – Washington Post

Donald Trump campaigned as someone who wanted to get America out of the Middle East. But he also cast himself as a tough guy, and his initial instincts in office were to show force — added troops, more aggressive rules of engagement, bigger bombs — in America’s war zones. “These killers need to know they have nowhere to hide,” he said when announcing a troop surge in Afghanistan.

Now we get reports that the Trump administration is searching for a negotiated settlement with the Taliban. However meandering the road, the administration is on the right path. But it is a very difficult one to navigate.

The war in Afghanistan, which began in 2001, is already the longest military operation in U.S. history. Our involvement there cannot be compared to the U.S. military presence in Germany, Japan or South Korea. The permanent bases in those countries were designed to deter external aggression (from North Korea, for example). In Afghanistan, the United States is engaged in a military effort to ensure that the Kabul government is not overthrown by an insurgency — more comparable to a neocolonial force supporting a friendly local ruler.

For this reason, both the Bush and Obama administrations sought a way out of Afghanistan. But they found it difficult to just leave and declare victory…

Read on.