Speaking today on Meet the Press, Sen. Bob Corker (R – TN) was asked about long-term US military operations within Afghanistan. He conceded that it was likely that the US would have ground troops in Afghanistan through at least another decade.
The US invaded Afghanistan in 2001, and President Trump committed to a continued war there with seemingly no end in site just over a month ago. Reporters pointed out Corker’s entire term in office has been during the Afghan War, and that when he leaves, planned for 2019, the war will still be ongoing.
Corker admitted this would probably continue to be the case, but said the real question would be what troops are doing there in another ten years. Of course, the US has gone through pseudo-drawdowns in the past before reescalating the war.
The “decade” timespan appears to be less than the Pentagon is really talking about at this point, as officials seem to view Afghanistan, as with Iraq, as more or less a permanent occupation at this point, and have tried to get around controversy about troop levels decades into the war by announcing that troop levels will not be made public knowledge going forward.