In an interview today with USA Today, Afghan Ambassador to the United States Hamdullah Mohib raised the possibility that the US occupation of Afghanistan, which began in 2001, might finally be nearing an end, and that it was at least possible the US occupation could end by 2020.
The hope that the US might be able to leave is very tentative, however, as Mohib made it conditional on the assumption that the Afghan military “will be able to have what they need to carry on the fight on their own for the most part.” This is not the first time the Afghan military was expected to be ready to handle the Taliban, of course.
Rampant corruption and flagging morale have hindered that time and again, however, with a significant portion of Afghanistan’s military dogged by “ghost troops” that exist only on paper, and only to draw a salary that can be embezzled by officials.
The hope that this will be resolved by 2020 seems highly aspirational, given the ongoing Afghan government problems with corruption. Indeed, the Trump Administration is looking to add US troops to the country to try to stem the losses the Afghan military is suffering.