New York Times:
The United States will halt its military withdrawal from Afghanistan and instead keep thousands of troops in the country through the end of President Obama’s term in 2017, Mr. Obama announced on Thursday, prolonging the American role in a war that has now stretched on for 14 years.
The current American force in Afghanistan of 9,800 troops will remain in place through most of 2016 under the Obama administration’s revised plans, before dropping to about 5,500 at the end of next year or in early 2017, Mr. Obama said.
Some of the troops will continue to train and advise Afghan forces, while others will carry on the search for Qaeda fighters and militants from the Islamic State and other groups who have found a haven in Afghanistan, he said.
In abandoning his ambition to bring home almost all American troops before leaving office, Mr. Obama appears to be acknowledging that Afghan security forces are still not near ready to hold off the Taliban on their own.
So we remain the occupying force that Donald Rumsfeld swore we would never be.
As much as this upsets me it is pretty clear that considering what happened in Iraq after the withdrawal of American forces that the President does not feel he has much of a choice.
Of course it seems obvious that expecting the situation to improve enough someday to justify complete troop withdrawal now seems like a pipe dream. At some point whoever is in charge (Hi Hillary!) is simply going to have to say "fuck it" and bring the troops home knowing that everything is going to go to hell when they leave.
But until that happens America continues to be trapped in an endless war, with no end in sight.