Afghan Journal

Lifting the veil on conflict, culture and politics

from Gregg Easterbrook:

With bin Laden dead, why doesn’t the U.S. leave Afghanistan?

In 2003, the United States invaded Iraq citing two justifications: to depose Saddam Hussein and to destroy Iraq’s banned weapons program. Within a year, Hussein and his accomplices were imprisoned, and it had been discovered there was no Iraqi banned weapons program. Having achieved its goals, why didn’t the United States leave? Seven years later, this question haunts the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

In 2001, the United States invaded Afghanistan, citing two justifications: to find Osama bin Laden, and break up al Qaeda. Bin Laden is now dead, and al Qaeda broken.

So why doesn’t the United States leave?

By autumn, American forces will have spent a full decade in Afghanistan -- conducting patrols, bombing the heinous, bombing the innocent. The United States has roughly 100,000 soldiers and air crew in Afghanistan, almost as many as the peak force in Iraq. The U.S. presence in Afghanistan constrains the Taliban, and the Taliban are an awful group. But the Taliban are a central Asian problem afflicting Afghanistan and Pakistan -- their existence does not in any way threaten the United States' national interest.

Having fulfilled its goals in Afghanistan, why doesn’t the United States leave?

from India Insight:

Obama in India: a Reuters video discussion with the Brookings Institution

Reuters sat down with policy experts from the Brookings Institution this week for a televised discussion on President Barack Obama's visit to Asia. Chief Correspondent Alistair Scrutton began by asking Strobe Talbott, the institution's president, and Martin Indyk, its vice president and director of foreign policy, about the results of the midterm elections and whether Obama can turn around public perception as Clinton did after his poor showing in the Congressional vote.

In this next clip, they discuss the Republican economic agenda and the outlook for the global economy.