What the heck are we doing in Afghanistan right now?

I ask this very important question because President Donald Trump’s senior advisers are proposing sending thousands of additional US troops there so they can “start winning” again,¬†according to one official who spoke with The Washington Post.

That would be great if the word “winning” could be defined.

Let’s put this into perspective: Since October 2001, the United States has had a military presence in Afghanistan.

Over nearly 16 years of war, more than 2,200 service members have been killed, and more than 20,000 have been wounded. We have spent almost $1 trillion there.

We have paid a heavy price for a loosely defined end.

After 9/11, we went into Afghanistan to root out Al Qaeda and the Taliban so we could deny them a safe haven. But in 2004, when I was on the ground as a US Marine, the job I was given was a simpler one: drive around in the hope you get shot at. That’s how we found the enemy.

A reality check

For years, we have been offered rosy assessments from the military’s top commanders in Afghanistan. Gen. John Abizaid said in 2005 that “interesting progress” had been made.

 

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Featured image courtesy of Reuters