• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Obama's Afghanistan Withdrawal Plan Jeopardizes Hard-Won Gains

    President Obama’s plan for a hasty withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan risks squandering the hard-won gains made on the battlefield in southern Afghanistan over the last ten months.

    U.S. military commanders on the ground in Afghanistan had reportedly requested a slower pace of withdrawal to afford them the opportunity to consolidate recent gains against Taliban insurgents.  President Obama has denied his military commanders flexibility to determine the pace and scope of withdrawal based on conditions on the ground, and instead appears to have based his decision largely around the U.S. domestic political calendar.

    The plans for rapidly withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan also risks upending the major achievement of eliminating Osama bin Laden across the border in Pakistan.

    Bin Laden’s death and an aggressive drone campaign in Pakistan’s tribal border areas have put al-Qaeda on its back foot.  The Administration deserves credit for accomplishing this crucial objective.

    However, it is short-sighted to use bin Laden’s death as justification for hastening the U.S. troop draw down in Afghanistan.  Announcing rapid withdrawal of U.S. forces will likely bolster the morale of the Taliban and encourage them to stick with the fight.  Since al-Qaeda has not yet dissolved as an organization and its relationship with the Taliban remains strong, reducing military pressure on the Taliban in Afghanistan could benefit al-Qaeda and provide it a lifeline at a critical juncture in the fight against terrorism.

    The withdrawal plan will signal to both our Afghan allies and enemy forces that the U.S. is more committed to withdrawing its forces than the long-term goal of stabilizing the country. The U.S. made a grave error in turning its back on Afghanistan after the Soviets departed in 1989. President Obama’s speech will stoke fears that the U.S. is getting ready to repeat a similar mistake.

    Obama’s announcement on rapid troop withdrawals from Afghanistan will further discourage Pakistan from cracking down on the Taliban leadership that finds sanctuary on its soil. The speech will reinforce Islamabad’s calculation that the U.S. is losing resolve in the fight in Afghanistan and thus encourage Pakistani military leaders to continue to hedge on support to the Taliban to protect their own national security interests.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    13 Responses to Obama's Afghanistan Withdrawal Plan Jeopardizes Hard-Won Gains

    1. Jeff, Illinois says:

      Look at the GOP hopefulls response on the Huffington Post .. . and recognize views all over the map . . but of course as expected the Herritage Foundation readily blasts Obama. I think if a writer for the Heritage Foundation would have written the plan for our involvement in Afghanistan, and Obama read it to the nation as his plan, the same writer would have blasted Obama for being anti-american and an ineffective leader etc.

      The bottom line . . all Americans have differing ideas about our military strategies going forward. President Obama (Our American President) has a difficult job and should be supported as well our troops. Support does not mean necessarily agreement with, but rather an appreciation for his effort to strike a balance between the varying opinions with our thoughts and prayers. Again he's our American President, voted into office just as Geoprge Bush was. He's clearly thoughtful and intelligent, and yes imperfect.

      God Bless Him, Our Troops and our efforts however effective as history will judge.

    2. Rodney Tatro says:

      It's another Obama call, for sure the troops need a break and so does the taxpayers.

    3. rick says:

      It wasn't to hasty when President Bush pulled out the start another war in Iraq. Maybe if we had done it right the first time we wouldn't have spent over a decade in Afghanistan.

      • Lloyd Scallan says:

        You leftist Obama supporters will never accept why Bush did what he did, so it's a waste of time to
        try to explain it again. You and your ilk are dedicated to this imposter that is making every effort to end our American way of life.

    4. Jeff, Illinois says:

      Obama is OUR American President and deserves our respect for tackling extremely difficult challenges. This is a divisive issue . . only history will give us more insight.
      God Bless Our President, Our Troops and Our Nation . .

      • Bruce A. Frank says:

        Rather than praying for God to bless Obama, I pray for God to guide him. Obama is no more my president than Ronald Reagan or GeeDubya was yours. The divisiveness of this issue is cause by the president trying to maintain his support from the left, rather than actually making correct decisions for the country. When we leave, the Taliban will take control again because they are ruthless.

        Remember that this is the same country that had all the left screening about the loss of women's rights when the Taliban imposed their rule. Female doctors, lawyers and other professionals were denied the right to earn a living under the Taliban. Long before 9/11 there was a call to invade and restore women's rights. We will be there again and not only will we be called on to restore rights by the Left but called upon by the Right to protect us from the haven of Islamist terrorists.

      • Lloyd Scallan says:

        Obama lost all reason for "respect"! He was elected through fraud, lies, and deceptions, thus contaminated the office of POTUS. His "extreamly difficult challenges" are self inflicted by his deliberate
        manipulation to destroy every aspect of our economical ,military, and foreign policy agencies. Obama is openly using every means at his disposal to obtain his goal of a socialist America. If Obama would be reelected, only God can save our troops and nation.

      • Bruce A. Frank says:

        Rather than praying for God to bless Obama, I pray for God to guide him. Obama is no more my president than Ronald Reagan or GeeDubya was yours. The divisiveness of this issue is cause by the president trying to maintain his support from the left, rather than actually making correct decisions for the country. When we leave, the Taliban will take control again because they are ruthless.

        Remember that this is the same country that had all the left screening about the loss of women's rights when the Taliban imposed their rule. Female doctors, lawyers and other professionals were denied the right to earn a living under the Taliban. Long before 9/11 there was a call to invade and restore women's rights. We will be there again and not only will we be called on to restore rights by the Left but called upon by the Right to protect us from the haven of Islamist terrorists.

    5. Lloyd Scallan says:

      Do we not recognize that the reason more and more Americans want us out of the Middle East altogether
      is because very few of us, including the left (secretly), just don't trust Obama. So far he shows absolutely no reason to earn that trust. As with every aspect of his policies, he uses these "wars" as a political tool for his reelection.

      Just as important, we should understand that this entire region of the world has been in conflict for
      centries. Once our troops are pulled out completely, every one of our "gains" will be for naught. They will revert to what they have always been. All of our money and all of our blood will do nothing to change anything. bin Laden is dead. Our enemies will just hide in their holes until it is safe to come out. To do as Obama suggest will do nothing but delay what will come regardless of what else we do.

    6. Ken Ramold says:

      If I could see significant progress on the Afghanistan front I'd be more for it. I don't see it, given the unending killing of civilians and troops. However, Obama is a complete idiot with reguards to our military and our foreign policy. We need a new leader.

    7. authorblanton says:

      God help anyone who chooses to fight like a Democrat. Let's see now, we tell our enemy how we will fight and when we will stop fighting and go home in defeat. Does anyone else wonder why Democrats think this is a winning strategy?

    8. John says:

      So should we build an empire AND justify it in terms of civilizan savages? Why we could have a the greatest empire in history because most of the world is run by savage despots. Hey let's make for Zimbabwe next!

    9. Pingback: Afghanistan : retrait à haut risque pour Barack Obama : In Eco Veritas

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×