Afghanistan Weekly Reader: Growing Support for Drawdown

Afghan President Hamid Karzai is in Washington this week for a meeting with President Obama that could determine the size of the U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan after 2014. The meeting comes one week after Pentagon leaders presented options for post-2014 troop levels ranging from 6,000 to 20,000. In the U.S., support for reducing the large, costly military presence is growing, as policymakers and the public question the wisdom of spending billions on the war.

From ASG
$7 Billion for Each Month of War in Afghanistan

Afghanistan Study Group by Mary Kaszynski

The coming months will see many opportunities to develop a budget that eliminates wasteful programs. Policymakers need to take advantage of this opportunity now, rather than kicking the can down the road. Each month of delay means billions added to the national debt, billions of taxpayer dollars wasted, and billions spent on a war that most Americans no longer support.

U.S. Is Open to Withdraw Afghan Force After 2014

New York Times by Mark Landler and Michael R. Gordon

On the eve of a visit by President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, the Obama administration said Tuesday that it was open to a so-called zero option that would involve leaving no American troops in Afghanistan after 2014, when the NATO combat mission there comes to an end.

A ‘Zero Option’ for Afghanistan

Foreign Policy by David W. Barno

Whether U.S. troops ultimately stay or leave Afghanistan after 2014 may now come down to just one week of tough bargaining. Each nation has a great deal at stake.

The open question of Afghanistan

Washington Post by Walter Pincus

President Obama this week has a chance to explain to President Hamid Karzai, and hopefully to the American people, what will be our future role in Afghanistan…as the U.S. financial belt is being tightened, people want to know the financial cost, for how long and what will be accomplished.

Some in administration push for only a few thousand U.S. troops in Afghanistan after 2014

Washington Post by Ernesto LondoƱo and Rajiv Chandrasekaran

As the debate over the size and scope of the post-2014 coalition mission nears its end, some in the administration are pressing for a force that could be as small as 2,500, arguing that a light touch would be the most constructive way to cap the costly, unpopular war.

Choices on Afghanistan
New York Times Editorial

If Mr. Obama cannot find a way to go to zero troops, he should approve only the minimum number needed, of mostly Special Operations commandos, to hunt down insurgents and serve as a deterrent against the Taliban retaking Kabul and Al Qaeda re-establishing a safe haven in Afghanistan.

The Cost of a Post-2014 U.S. Force

TIME by Douglas A. Ollivant

Those promoting the extension of current force levels in Afghanistan talk about justification for these troops remaining here, here and here, but elide over the costs. And $60-ish billion is real money, even by DOD or Federal budget standards.

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