Afghanistan Weekly Reader: Agreement Allows 10-Year Extension of US Presence in Afghanistan

President Obama made headlines this week with a surprise trip to Kabul to sign the US-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement. The agreement made explicit what has been understood all along: the US commitment to Afghanistan will continue after 2014. What the agreement fails to do, however, is define what that commitment will look like. In particular, while restating that the US does not seek permanent bases in Afghanistan, the agreement does not specify how many US troops will stay to advise and assist the Afghan security forces after 2014. The US has already accomplished its strategic goals in Afghanistan. Leaving troops there is unnecessary, a waste of taxpayer dollars. The US public knows this; some members of Congress do too. Other policymakers should take note.

From ASG
USAID Spent $400 Million In Afghanistan “Despite Uncertain Results”
Afghanistan Study Group by Mary Kaszynski
When a boondoggle like this is allowed to continue unchecked, it makes us wonder about other Afghanistan reconstruction projects. The Local Governance and Community Development program accounted for about one-third of total amount – $1.1 billion – that USAID has spent on Afghanistan reconstruction. What happened to the other $700 million? Were other aid projects just as ineffective as this one?

US-Afghanistan 10-year security compact has loopholes for both nations
Fox News
The 10-year security agreement signed this week by President Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai is filled with fuzzy language and loopholes — and stands as more of a guide than a contract for the U.S.-Afghan relationship in the post-war years.

In Afghanistan, Obama says wars of 9/11 nearing an end
McClatchy Newspapers
President Barack Obama told Americans Tuesday that after a decade of post-September 11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, “we can see the light of a new day” – hours after signing an agreement that extended the U.S. commitment to Afghanistan.

Rebuild America, not Afghanistan
USA Today by Sen. Jeff Merkley

There is no question that al-Qaeda is dangerous and that we need to stay on the offensive. That, after all, was the mission that brought us to Afghanistan in the first place. But trying to craft a modern nation-state in Afghanistan does not further that mission. It’s time to bring our troops home.

Finish Off Al Qaeda. Stop Trying to Fix Afghanistan
The New York Time by Eric Greitens

Because many Qaeda fighters were based and sheltered in Afghanistan in 2001, some Americans argued that to make victory permanent we had to not just oust the Taliban government, but also build a democracy, a modern economy and an effective national security apparatus for Afghanistan. It was like arguing that to put out a forest fire, we had to pave the forest.

Get U.S. troops out of Afghanistan
CNN by Rep. Keith Ellison

But with our core mission of decimating al Qaeda in Afghanistan accomplished, is the continuing military presence until 2014 worth the cost? More than 1,900 Americans have died in Afghanistan, and more than 15,000 have been wounded…Instead of spending billions on a war that is not making us safer, we could better advance U.S. national security by providing greater support to people in Middle Eastern countries fighting for freedom and democracy.

Obama Visits Afghanistan, Perpetuates Misguided Policy
The Cato Institute by Chris Preble

A majority of Americans want all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan within a year, and a large-scale military presence isn’t needed to continue to hunt al Qaeda. The organization is a shadow of its former self, and has shifted its operations and tactics to many other places. We are still spending tens of billions of dollars in a desperate nation-building mission; this money could be spent much more effectively elsewhere, including here in the United States.

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