Afghan Journal

Lifting the veil on conflict, culture and politics

from Tales from the Trail:

Is Afghan war one of necessity for U.S.?

Disengaging from Afghanistan is the option President Barack Obama is the least likely to adopt as he closes in on a new strategy in the eight-year war he calls one of "necessity."

AFGHANISTANBut on Thursday, at one of the countless policy conferences in Washington to discuss the president's choices, some experts suggested withdrawal was the best route -- and they said it would not necessarily impact efforts to fight al Qaeda.

Harvard University's Stephen Walt called the argument for disengagement "fairly compelling," while conceding it was not the most popular.

His tally of the costs: $225 billion since the Sept. 11 attacks, with more than 850 U.S. soldiers killed and thousands wounded.