Gen. Dunford: US Needs to Stay in Afghanistan for Years

'Critical' for At Least 3-4 Years After 2014

In 12+ years of occupation, the US narrative about Afghanistan has rarely changed, with officials maintaining that major progress has been made, but that the occupation must continue to “sustain” it.

The latest interview by Gen. Dunford, the commander of NATO troops in Afghanistan, was more of the same in that regard, once again dismissing soaring casualties among Afghan forces, and insisting that the Afghan military was getting stronger and stronger.

And of course, Gen. Dunford followed up his claim of progress by insisting that the US needed to keep troops there for “years to come,” saying that at least three or four years of US military presence was ‘critical’ after 2014.

Though US officials occasionally raise the prospect of ending the occupation in 2014 during negotiations with the Karzai government, the Pentagon had made it clear time and again they don’t consider it a real possibility, envisioning a protracted deployment with no end in sight.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.