Obama Announces Halt to Afghanistan Withdrawal

Troops Will Remain at Least Through 2017

President Obama today announced a full halt to America’s planned drawdown of military forces to “embassy levels” through the end of his term in office in 2017, ensuring that the American occupation will endure in the country for years to come.

Incredibly, during the announcement Obama reiterated his false claim that “America’s combat mission in Afghanistan may be over,” just a week after US troops engaged in combat around the northern city of Kunduz. Roughly 10,000 US ground troops remain.

The drawdown has gotten pushed back before, it was supposed to begin this year, but was eventually pushed back to “after 2016,” citing security problems. The new announcement doesn’t even include the pretense of a future date, and effectively punts the matter to the next administration.

Which almost certainly means the occupation will be continuing for many years before Obama’s term, as the military leadership seems united in wanting to keep troops there, citing growing ISIS presence and worsening security situation as proof the US has to stay.

Yet growing ISIS presence and a worsening security situation are happening amid this US military presence, and 14 years into the occupation the situation is worse than its been throughout the war. The US military presence clearly isn’t the solution to these problems.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. 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.