Report: US to Ditch Afghan Pullout Plan, Leave Thousands of Troops Behind

Troop Levels Expected to Remain Flat Through Obama's Term in Office

The myth of the Afghan War having “ended” a couple of years ago seems to have convinced most people to cut back on coverage of the conflict, but officials are reporting that the likely result of latest deliberations on Afghanistan are for the US to scrap their pullout plans once again, leaving thousands of troops behind through the end of President Obama’s final term in office.

The initial plan was for the US to draw down several times and have a very token presence left behind for training purposes, but exactly when this is happening keeps getting pushed back, and now the suggestion is that the current levels, around 10,000, are likely to remain roughly flat at least through 2016.

The argument by those in favor of keeping the troops in place is largely the same throughout the war, that the Afghan government simply isn’t capable of beating the Taliban on their own, and that a US pullout would add pressure to that struggling military, which is already losing ground to Taliban fighters left and right.

Though this is always presented as just another year or so added on to the plan, 14 years of history shows where that leads, and if the US isn’t going to end the occupation of Afghanistan until they believe the Afghan military is able to operate independently, they may end up being there for many decades more.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of