The war in Afghanistan is the longest in U.S. history. Despite the loss of more than 2,400 American lives and costs of $1 trillion, the United States is losing. Even Defense Secretary James Mattis confirms that coalition forces “are not winning.”
President Trump inherited the quagmire and has the complex task of sorting it out and bringing our troops home.
The option to simply abandon Afghanistan is enticing but in the long run would be a foreign policy disaster. The Kabul government would collapse. Afghanistan would be a rallying cry for global jihadists.
The present conventional strategy has proved ineffective. Repeating the prior troop surge also has appeal. The surge reduced Taliban influence, but the Taliban returned as troops withdrew. Furthermore, it is simply too expensive to maintain a long-term, large-scale military presence. Luckily, there is a another option.