We Can’t Give Up on Afghanistan

Friends, Congressional Republicans have utterly failed to articulate a foreign policy. Their failure began right away as things started to get rough in Iraq in 2003 (yes, 2003). President George W. Bush attempted to make up for this larger GOP failure by giving countless speeches outlining the policy and the depth of the thinking behind it. He alone sold the troop surge of 2007.

Now Bush’s successor has undone much of what he set in place in Iraq and Afghanistan. Organizations like the Heritage Foundation and publications like the Weekly Standard and National Review do not reach a large audience, so they can write all they want about it but their words will be for naught until the Republican Party gets serious about communicating a foreign policy.

From the Heritage Foundation:

Yesterday marked the 11-year anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan, which was launched just three and a half weeks after the 9/11 attacks. Recently, U.S. troop deaths in Afghanistan reached the 2,000 mark. These markers—combined with the horror of “insider attacks” by Afghan soldiers against allied fighters—beg an accounting of where we are in Afghanistan.

Within three months of the 2001 invasion, the U.S. had routed the Taliban and established an internationally backed Afghan government. But the U.S. and NATO success in the early years of the Afghan war has been diminished over the last five years. The Taliban have been able to regroup and rebound from safe havens inside Pakistan to again threaten the future of the country.

While few believe it is possible to achieve a clear-cut defeat of the Taliban at this stage, there are several things the U.S. can do to maximize the chances that Afghanistan will achieve a degree of peace and stability, even as U.S. and NATO combat troops draw down over the next two years.

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