There is a growing temptation in the United States to rush to the exit inAfghanistan. President Obama’s decision to pull out 33,000 troops by next summer – 10,000 in 2011 and another 23,000 in 2012 – may amplify calls for a complete withdrawal as some Americans try to wash their hands from what was once “the good war”. How times have changed.
Those who call for an immediate, full exit are making a grave mistake. Such an approach risks an outcome that should be unacceptable in Washington and London: a Taliban takeover of all, or substantial portions, of Afghanistan.
That President Obama’s remarks did not include a long-term commitment to assistance – like that offered to Japan and Korea decades ago – will be of great concern in Afghanistan. Without such a commitment, Afghanistan, its neighbours and its enemies will likely interpret President Obama’s statement as indicating a complete withdrawal. Read more: