Statement: With no strategic rationale or defined goals, Trump should withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan

December 21, 2018

WASHINGTON, DC—A recent survey found that 57 percent of Americans, including 69 percent of military veterans, would support a decision by the president to remove all troops from Afghanistan. Following President Trump's decision on withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria, Defense Priorities Senior Fellow Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis, USA, Ret. issued the following statement calling for an end to the Afghanistan war:

“As important as it is for the U.S. military to withdraw from Syria, it is even more critical President Trump end the 17-year war in Afghanistan to focus on higher priorities, like deterring great power conflict.

“The United States achieved all it could in Afghanistan when it displaced al-Qaeda and replaced the Taliban government that hosted them by 2002. Since then, Washington has been fighting, and losing, a second war that has neither clear aims or a specified, achievable end state. The result is a permanent state of war.

“Relying on an estimated $45 billion in U.S. taxpayer funds annually, Afghanistan has failed to stand up effective security forces and remains one of the most corrupt governments in the world. Taliban insurgent groups have grown in numbers from 20,000 to 60,000, and today control as much territory as they have since 2002. That's after a surge of 140,000 U.S. and NATO troops. Based on my two combat deployments to Afghanistan, I can confidently state this conflict will never be resolved with U.S. military forces, regardless of how many we deploy or how many decades we leave them there.

“The U.S. military has vastly improved its capability to monitor territory with surveillance technology and launch strikes against enemies with drones, raids, bombs, and cruise missiles. We can eliminate direct threats without a permanent troop presence or nation building, freeing up resources for vital U.S. security interests. Afghanistan's future must be won by Afghans, not Americans.”