Trump Administration Remains Divided on Afghan Escalation

16 Years Into the War, Some Are Wondering If It's Winnable

President Trump is expected to make a decision any day now on the plan for the Afghan War, with various reports suggesting that he’s facing Pentagon options on escalation with thousands of additional troops, and at least one option which attempts to do more while keeping troop levels flat.

Within the administration, however, there is a growing divide on the plans, with concerns about whether throwing a few thousand extra troops at Afghanistan is really going to put the US in any better of a position than they’ve been the last 16 years, during which they’ve sometimes had far more troops than any current proposal, and still didn’t “win” the war.

While the Pentagon is said to be “broadly supportive” of further escalation, they appear reluctant to address the question of whether the war is winnable at all, with growing concern among civilian officials that the soaring corruption and mounting losses in Afghanistan make this deployment just another waste.

16 years is a long war, of course, and the Pentagon remains comfortable as ever with juggling troop levels and treading water. Questions about trying to force a peace settlement are not something they want to answer, because in reality nothing the US has been doing in the past 16 years has put them on a track to end this war under any terms.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of