Retreat, Return, Repeat by Alan W. Dowd – RealClearDefense
The Trump administration has announced a long-awaited peace deal with the Taliban and a phased, “conditions-based” total withdrawal from Afghanistan. Yet as these words are being typed, the U.S. military confirms it has conducted airstrikes against Taliban fighters. The reason: Our Taliban partners in peace carried out 43 attacks—on a single day—against Afghan security forces in Helmand Province. This is an indication of where Afghanistan is headed—and a reminder of where we’ve been.
The peace deal calls on the U.S. to decrease troop strength from the current 12,000 troops down to 8,600 troops over the next 135 days, with a full U.S. withdrawal 14 months from now. For its part, the Taliban vows that it “will not allow any of its members, other individuals or groups, including al Qaeda, to use the soil of Afghanistan to threaten the security of the United States and its allies.”
That is why it pays to recall, U.S. troops have been fighting in Afghanistan since the autumn of 2001. They didn’t go to war for oil or territory. They went to war in Afghanistan because the Taliban regime allowed Afghanistan to be used as a training ground and launching pad for Osama bin Laden’s global guerilla war. On September 11, 2001, that war reached our shores. Amidst all the talk of “ending endless wars” and “nation-building here at home,” too many Americans somehow forget or willfully ignore this…