It has been fifteen years since the United States first began bombing Afghanistan and the situation has only gotten worse as time has gone up.
The United States has spent approximately $115 billion on this war — the longest war in the country’s history. In the process, 1,865 Americans have died and 20,224 have been wounded.
The main goal of this war was to create stability in Afghanistan. Both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama sought to achieve democracy in the region, but instead it has continued to be a safe haven for terrorists.
However, few people in the U.S. are even paying attention to the severity of the situation.
The future of this conflict rests in Donald Trump’s hands. As the Taliban and other organizations continue to gain major ground in the region, the President-elect has a series of choices to make — should he send more troops? What about an increase in military spending? Should he pull the troops? Is it even possible to pull them all at this time?
While this was not covered at all during his campaign, these are the critical decisions he’s going to have to make. All the while, there are several groups to consider in the decision-making process. As it stands, there are about 7,000 U.S. troops training and advising Afghan forces, and another 6,000 that are mostly special forces members engaging in counter-terrorism operations. Beyond those in training and combat, there are thousands of Afghans — including women and children — that are reliable on the U.S. to maintain whatever little progress has been gained in terms of a self-sustaining government for Afghanistan. While the U.S., in many ways, created this mess, the U.S. is also responsible for cleaning it up.
As violence escalates in the country, with 30 people having been killed on Monday and upwards of 70 people injured in a mosque bombing, it is incredibly important that Donald Trump exercise caution when looking to what should be done next.
Trump has demonstrated a complete lack of foreign policy expertise and an inability to surround himself with others that can compensate for his shortcomings. It is for this reasons that Afghanistan very well may be his first foreign policy disaster.
The thoughts and opinions expressed here are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citizen Slant.