On October 7, 2001, the United States invaded Afghanistan. Today, the war has moved past its 12-year anniversary and into its 13th year, with no end in sight, and promises of troop drawdowns largely unfulfilled.
There are still 54,000 US troops in occupied Afghanistan, despite comments suggesting that the level would get down to 10,000 or less by the end of next year, and violence is as bad now as its ever been, with civilians, as through most of the war, taking the brunt of the casualties.
Escalation in Afghanistan was the centerpiece of President Obama’s 2008 foreign policy campaign, with many arguing at the time it had become a forgotten war compared to Iraq. The war seems to have fallen off of the media radar just as dramatically today, however, with most reports seemingly accepting the promised 2014 drawdown as proof the war is “almost” over.
Yet at the same time, President Obama is negotiating a Bilateral Security Agreement with the Afghan government dictating the status of US forces in the country beyond 2014, and has already signed a deal in principle to keep troops in the country through at least 2024, meaning despite the assumptions, the war may well have another decade to go.
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