CommunityFDL Main Blog

Obama Reverses Pledge On US Combat Role In Afghanistan

{!hitembed ID=”hitembed_1″ width=”500″ height=”281″ align=”none” !}

(May 2014: Obama says US combat role is over in Afghanistan, that it is time to “turn the page.”)

Last May President Barack Obama announced that US forces in Afghanistan would finally be ending their combat mission and in 2015 would move to an advisory role. According to The New York Times that pledge has now been reversed with an order to continue combat missions against the Taliban and anyone else who threatens US forces in the country or the Afghan government. Rather than pull back from Afghanistan as President Obama promised, the US is doubling down.

Reportedly a power struggle within the Obama Administration between the Pentagon and civilian advisors turned in the Pentagon’s favor after Iraq’s security forces were soundly defeated by ISIS. The routing of the Iraqi army apparently convinced Obama that there was reason to hold off on turning security operations to the Afghan national army.

The war in Afghanistan is the longest in US history and achieved its initial mission of eradicating Al-Qaeda from the area within the first six months as Al-Qaeda and leadership including Osama Bin Laden fled to Pakistan. The mission then morphed into defeating a political faction within Afghanistan society known as the Taliban who had provided safe haven for Al-Qaeda up to and including the time of the 9/11 attacks.

President Obama decided in recent weeks to authorize a more expansive mission for the military in Afghanistan in 2015 than originally planned, a move that ensures American troops will have a direct role in fighting in the war-ravaged country for at least another year.

Mr. Obama’s order allows American forces to carry out missions against the Taliban and other militant groups threatening American troops or the Afghan government, a broader mission than the president described to the public earlier this year, according to several administration, military and congressional officials with knowledge of the decision. The new authorization also allows American jets, bombers and drones to support Afghan troops on combat missions.

So as the US reenters Iraq it will continue its combat involvement in Afghanistan, evidently making progress in the Middle East is standing still. Though perpetually fighting the Taliban – who are domestic extremists in Afghanistan not transnational terrorists – in order to win the war on terrorism is still a bit of a leap in logic. Nonetheless, the war will go on.

Despite this being an age of austerity with cuts to social programs needed to balance the budget, the US can still find the money to fight endless wars in the Middle East with highly questionable aspirations. The only thing holding Obama back from continuing the war in Afghanistan was a publicly made promise to the American people, obviously that wasn’t worth much.

CommunityThe Bullpen

Obama Reverses Pledge On US Combat Role In Afghanistan

{!hitembed ID=”hitembed_1″ width=”500″ height=”281″ align=”none” !}
(May 2014: Obama says US combat role is over in Afghanistan, that it is time to “turn the page.”)

Last May President Barack Obama announced that US forces in Afghanistan would finally be ending their combat mission and in 2015 would move to an advisory role. According to The New York Times that pledge has now been reversed with an order to continue combat missions against the Taliban and anyone else who threatens US forces in the country or the Afghan government. Rather than pull back from Afghanistan as President Obama promised, the US is doubling down.

Reportedly a power struggle within the Obama Administration between the Pentagon and civilian advisors turned in the Pentagon’s favor after Iraq’s security forces were soundly defeated by ISIS. The routing of the Iraqi army apparently convinced Obama that there was reason to hold off on turning security operations to the Afghan national army.

The war in Afghanistan is the longest in US history and achieved its initial mission of eradicating Al-Qaeda from the area within the first six months as Al-Qaeda and leadership including Osama Bin Laden fled to Pakistan. The mission then morphed into defeating a political faction within Afghanistan society known as the Taliban who had provided safe haven for Al-Qaeda up to and including the time of the 9/11 attacks.

President Obama decided in recent weeks to authorize a more expansive mission for the military in Afghanistan in 2015 than originally planned, a move that ensures American troops will have a direct role in fighting in the war-ravaged country for at least another year.

Mr. Obama’s order allows American forces to carry out missions against the Taliban and other militant groups threatening American troops or the Afghan government, a broader mission than the president described to the public earlier this year, according to several administration, military and congressional officials with knowledge of the decision. The new authorization also allows American jets, bombers and drones to support Afghan troops on combat missions.

So as the US reenters Iraq it will continue its combat involvement in Afghanistan, evidently making progress in the Middle East is standing still. Though perpetually fighting the Taliban – who are domestic extremists in Afghanistan not transnational terrorists – in order to win the war on terrorism is still a bit of a leap in logic. Nonetheless, the war will go on.

Despite this being an age of austerity with cuts to social programs needed to balance the budget, the US can still find the money to fight endless wars in the Middle East with highly questionable aspirations. The only thing holding Obama back from continuing the war in Afghanistan was a publicly made promise to the American people, obviously that wasn’t worth much.

Previous post

The Roundup

Next post

Americans' Weird Belief Their Country Is Becoming a Lawless Hellscape

Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
Subscribe in a reader