KABUL – The number of American soldiers in Afghanistan continues to drop at a rapid pace, with officials claiming that they remain well ahead of schedule, but the Pentagon and the White House are offering conflicting figures on how many troops remain in the country.
The Pentagon says that the goal has been for 8,600 troops to be left in the country by mid-July, and they are so ahead of schedule they say they’ll meet that number in June, which is just a few days away. The White House, by contrast, suggested that the US has somewhere in the realm of 7,000 troops left in Afghanistan and that this is set to drop even further.
Since the US has made troop levels largely a secret, which is true is not always apparent. Either way, the number of troops keeps declining, and at a rate where the US could be out of Afghanistan within less than a year if they keep up the pace. President Trump is yet to set any specific date, but others have reported the goal is to be out by the November election.
At any rate, Afghanistan today looks grim. As already stated by President Trump himself, the US has spent more than a trillion dollars and lost more than 2,400 troops there, with no victory in sight. Many US commanders have also declared the strategic situation “a stalemate”.
Add to this the fact that not a single Afghan wants to see the US occupying troops in their country, even government officials and armed forces, and you get the idea why the US military is yet to see any real victory there. By President Trump’s own account, the US military has become bogged down in Afghanistan. The US is not winning the war and troops better leave.
The president is far from alone in his Afghan struggles. Successive presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama cycled through multiple strategies without bringing the war to an end. Right now, the violence remains relentless. Armed conflict continues to cause severe harm to civilians.
The US has also NOT “helped curb” Afghanistan’s massive drug trade. SIGAR claims billions of dollars have been “spent trying to stop Afghanistan’s opium production”, which is the largest in the world. But on the ground, more Afghan opium is growing than ever before – which is due to a secret understanding and deal between the CIA and the drug producers.
Drug cultivation and production have grown 50-fold since the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. Some in the US administration want to keep several thousand additional troops in Afghanistan, while others appear to favor the US reducing its role in the war. That said, replaying the past will result in the same future. Further troop presence is a bad idea.
What it will not do is defeat the insurgency and end the war. If the US expands the occupation of Afghanistan, it may well end up committing their armed forces to a failed war that’s permanent. Deep State warmongers remain committed to the war in Afghanistan and the region. For them, the conflict generates income for the military-industrial complex.
Indeed, the botched “War on Terror” has only brought immense, atrocious, sustained loss of life and chaos to the people of Afghanistan and the rest of the region. From their standpoint, all foreign occupying troops must leave Afghanistan. They say the war and occupation only advance the aims of those who profit from the circumstances – Deep State military contractors, drug dealers and terrorist groups.