Issue Presented: In 2011, U.S. President Barack Obama addressed the nation, outlining U.S. policy goals in Afghanistan
“The goal that we seek is achievable, and can be expressed simply: No safe haven from which al Qaeda or its affiliates can launch attacks against our homeland or our allies. We won’t try to make Afghanistan a perfect place. We will not police its streets or patrol its mountains indefinitely. That is the responsibility of the Afghan government, which must step up its ability to protect its people, and move from an economy shaped by war to one that can sustain a lasting peace. What we can do, and will do, is build a partnership with the Afghan people that endures – one that ensures that we will be able to continue targeting terrorists and supporting a sovereign Afghan government.
ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS
The policy question that faces us, is what is the best possible method of achieving such a goal? The United States has now withdrawn the majority of its troops, leaving only a small contingent (approximately 9800 out of the 100,000 that were there in 2011) to support counter-terrorism operations and train local forces. Is this policy the best way to achieve U.S. policy goals in the region? Or should the U.S. leave a more substantial military presence in the region? Or conversely, should the U.S. leave no military personal in the region? On a broader level, should the U.S. have different policy goals than the limited ones laid out be President Obama above? If so, what should they be?