Monday, August 07, 2017

Make Afghanistan Adequate Again

The Trump administration needs to make a decision to win the Afghanistan campaign by committing American forces (with coalition support added, as well) to support the Afghan security forces while those local forces are still fighting.

Iraq was in worse shape than the Afghans are now when the Obama administration relaunched our efforts there in fall 2014 with Iraq War 2.0. Supporting coalition forces and capabilities enabled the Iraqis to fight through to the liberation of Mosul, with operations continuing against the remnants of ISIL.

Afghan security forces slowly losing ground without our full support on the level of Iraq, and we can restore the situation there if we commit to providing similar capabilities with our NATO and other partners:

The situation is grim, but scarcely hopeless if the U.S. acts decisively to give the Afghan forces the same kind of intense air support, forward deployed train and assist effort, and combat support that has worked well with Iraqi forces against ISIS and with the Kurdish and Arab forces the U.S. is supporting in northwest Syria. Polls also show that the Taliban and other insurgents lack any form of broad popularity and the SIGAR report notes that the official estimate is that insurgent gains are still limited[.]

Do we really want to wait for a major collapse like the Iraqis experienced in the first half of 2014 before we react?

We really don't want Afghanistan to become a terrorist sanctuary again. Let's prevent that while we have lots of Afghan forces in the field fighting the jihadis.

My goal for Afghanistan has never been high. I've just wanted a nominal central government with local forces keeping terrorists from setting up shop.

We can still get that if we provide the support that the Afghans can't provide.  But the Trump administration has to make that decision to act, or take the responsibility for allowing Afghanistan to become a terror haven--again.