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The Future Role of United States Troops in Afghanistan, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 568

Essay

The policy issue under discussion in the episode that was viewed is the future role of United States troops in Afghanistan after the scheduled troop withdrawals in 2016, and in light of the accidental bombing of an Afghan hospital. The date of broadcast of this episode was October 6th, 2015.  David Marno was the first expert introduced.  He was a retired army lieutenant general who commanded U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan.  The second expert, Scott Smith, was the director of the for the Afghanistan and Central Asian program at the United States institute of peace, who worked with the United Nations focusing on issues involved with Afghanistan.  These two individuals discuss current and future U.S. military policy in the region.

Marno indicates in his discussion that the problem was ultimately the result of the fog of war and these events are inevitable in this type of situation.  He argues that more accurate data and decision making are crucial to limiting these types of occurrences.  In regards to the troop withdraw, he argues that, given the present circumstances, it would be crucial to keep a troop count of at least 5,000 in the area in order to help the Afghan forces combat the threat of the Taliban’s established northern areas.  He further argues that the U.S. should take a more aggressive stance in combating the forces, sending troops to their northern Afghan strongholds, effectively reducing their strength.  Smith further corroborates this stance.  He argues that in light of the troop withdraw, those living in Afghanistan get the feeling that they are going to be abandoned.  He demonstrates the importance of showing these individuals that there is solidarity

The position of Marno stems from his political ideology.  He seems to indicate that the importance of efficiency and accuracy in military leadership are key to resolving the crisis.  In this way, a solidification of where leaders stand on the policies would be the most effective means of establishing a more coherent strategy for Afghanistan.  This would be largely an institutional development.  Smith, on the other hand, makes his arguments from the standpoint of the public interest.  He argues that the actions taken in Afghanistan have a profound effect on the way that the public in the country views their relationship with the United States.  In this sense, remaining troops would be the fulfillment of the promise that was made to them that their country would be kept secure and would solidify the relationship that they have with the Untied States.

The best alternative to the situation in Afghanistan seems to be to leave forces as are needed.  While this decision would undoubtedly be unpopular, if the public in Afghanistan still allows the presence of U.S. troops, then they should take the responsibility of fulfilling their goals in the region.  According to the information given in the video, leaving now would most likely leave the Taliban with enough power to reclaim the territories that were taken.  This would leave those Afghan forces who had sided with the United States during the incursion vulnerable to hostile intentions.  This would be feasible, as there are already troops in the region.  Furthermore, it seems evident that the costs of leaving would outweigh the risks of leaving troops behind, as a resurgence of the Taliban in the area would be a threat to the stability of the region.

References

“PBS NewsHour full episode October 6, 2015.” PBS News Hour. Retrieved from http://video.pbs.org/video/2365578123/.

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