Speaking today in the wake of the G20 Summit, President Barack Obama criticized what he called “a lot of obsession” about ending the war in Afghanistan and withdrawing some 100,000 American troops from the nation.
Obama insisted that instead of considering if and how the war will ever come to some sort of end, his “focus right now is how do we make sure that what we’re doing there is successful, given the incredible sacrifices.”
The US initially invaded Afghanistan in late 2001. The number of troops in the nation has rising precipitously since President Obama took office in 2009, inheriting a war with 30,000 troops and turning it into a war with 100,000 troops.
Obama’s comments reflect those he made earlier this week, disavowing his pledge to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan in July of 2011. Now President Obama says that date is just the “beginning of a transition phase” and there is no particular timeline for leaving Afghanistan.
With the war increasingly unpopular, the president presented the 2011 drawdown date as a way to make his most recent escalation more palatable. With the surge troops now deployed, the date appears to have been discarded, and those still clamoring for some sort of end to the nearly decade-long war condemned for losing sight of some ill-defined victory.
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