The Reasons to Withdraw from Afghanistan

In a recent piece for Business Insider, Doug Bandow writes about how the Obama administration has delayed the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, and now there are increasing calls to revive the war and for a more robust use of U.S. airpower against the Taliban.

Furthermore, a group of retired diplomats and generals recently wrote an open letter to President Obama, urging him to further delay withdrawing any more forces from Afghanistan.

However, Bandow argues instead that the United States should withdraw its forces from Afghanistan because a U.S. military presence will fail to fix the numerous problems that plague the country. Bandow highlights three problems in particular: Afghan officials are corrupt and incompetent, more than $100 billion in U.S. aid to the country has achieved little, and the Afghan economy is crashing.

Additionally, the Taliban is also now believed to control more territory than at any time since the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom, and more than 1.2 million Afghans are displaced within the country—double the amount than that of 2013.

Contrary to what advocates for a continued U.S. military presence may claim, U.S. intervention has not prevented the spread of terrorism around the region. The people of Afghanistan continue to suffer from decades of conflict, and Bandow concludes that “Washington cannot fix Afghanistan. The US cannot afford the human and financial cost of endless war. It’s well past time to bring home America’s military personnel.”

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