- Obama Pivots on Troops in Afghanistan
- October 26, 2015
- Law Firm: McDonald Hopkins LLC - Cleveland Office
- President Barack Obama had long pledged not to leave troops in Afghanistan beyond the end of his term in January 2017. In a major policy shift, Obama announced this week that he will stop its military withdrawal from Afghanistan and will leave more than 5,000 troops in the country beyond the end of his term.
Under the amended plan the 9,800 troops currently in the country will stay there through most of 2016. Rather than a drawdown to a normal embassy presence in Kabul by the end of next year, the number of troops will drop to 5,500.
In comments given by Obama when announcing the new policy, the president made it clear that despite the change he doesn't “support the idea of endless war.”
Obama went on to say, “I have repeatedly argued against marching into open-ended military conflicts that do not serve our core security interests. Yet, given what’s at stake in Afghanistan, the opportunity for a stable and committed ally that can partner with us in preventing the emergence of future threats, and the fact that we have an international coalition, I’m firmly convinced that we should make this extra effort.”
The shift in policy seems to be an acknowledgment that Afghan forces are struggling to keep Taliban forces in check. It also comes after mounting pressure on Obama from the Pentagon and Congress to keep troops in the country.
Obama said he made the decision after speaking with Afghan leaders, members of Congress, and international partners, and he emphasized that the U.S. commitment to Afghanistan “remains firm.”