Amid Turmoil, Obama Intends to Finish War in Afghanistan


On Wednesday, Dec. 1 President Barack Obama made the decision to send 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, in addition to the 68,000 American troops that are already stationed there.

Former President George W. Bush declared war on Afghanistan in 2001, in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks, where two planes crashed into the Twin Towers, killing 2,976 Americans.

The Taliban regime and Osama bin Laden were blamed for these attacks.

Bush declared war with hopes to capture Osama bin Laden, destroy Al Qaeda and remove the Taliban regime completely.

The Afghanistan War has been fought between Afghanistan and the United States for eight years. With climbing war debt and death tolls, the end of the war is much anticipated.

The troops’ objectives

Besides trying to end the war, sending more troops overseas has three main objectives: deny Al Qaeda a safe haven, reverse the Taliban’s momentum and strengthen Afghanistan’s security forces and government.

The new troops entering Afghanistan will be doing a variety of tasks. Some will be training Afghan security forces to “create the conditions for the United States to transfer responsibility to the Afghans,” said Obama to CNN.

Other troops will be sent to the major Afghanistan city, Kandahar, where the U.S. believes Taliban fighters and leaders are hiding. The troops will attempt to control major approaches into the city, as well as who enters and leaves Kandahar.

Americans’ feelings

Before Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt promised Americans that they would not enter WWII, but after the Pearl Harbor attacks from Japan, Roosevelt was quick to enter the war.

Americans may have felt similar when Obama promised a way out of the war. When he promised this, he didn’t mention that sending more soldiers would be his solution. However, his decision may end up finishing the war entirely.

Although, Obama’s decision is putting a strain on his relationship with Democratic leaders, the Republican Party tends to respect the choice.

According to CNN, Michael Steele, the Republican National Committee Chairman, said that he is “glad the President will finally provide General McChrystal (commander of the International Security Assistance Force) with the troops he needs.”

Senator Mitch McConnel, Republican leader, agreed. “The President’s decision to follow the advice of Generals Petraeus and McChrystal in ordering a surge of forces into Afghanistan.”

The Democratic opinion tends to differ. “I do not support the president’s decision to send additional troops to fight a war in Afghanistan that is no longer in our national security interest,” said Senator Russ Feingold, Democratic, according to CNN.

“It’s an expensive gamble to undertake armed nation-building on behalf of a corrupt government of questionable legitimacy. Sending more troops could further destabilize Afghanistan and, more importantly, Pakistan, a nuclear-armed state where al Qaeda is headquartered,” Feingold continued.

Both sides have benefits and disadvantages. Sending more soldiers to the country could continue to destabilize the already war-torn country, but, from past results, it seems that a quick and strong approach to finishing the war may be the only way to go.

Ending the War

Obama plans to “finish the job” by  pulling American troops out of Afghanistan completely on a date set roughly eighteen months from now.

This strategy that Obama is using to go about the war could be considered similar to Bush’s strategy used in Iraq, called “The Surge,” which included a similar number of troops, a fast push into the country and a limited duration.

According to CNN, Obama said, “After eight years — some of those years in which we did not have, I think, either the resources or the strategy to get the job done — it is my intention to finish the job.”


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