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Afghanistan

Fifteen years after the United States first scattered the Taliban with high-altitude bombing, the battlefield gains achieved by tens of thousands of U.S. troops are in jeopardy from a resurgent Taliban. The 15th anniversary of the start of the war passed last month almost without notice. The stark choices facing President-elect Donald Trump ? more troops? more money? withdrawal? ? received no attention in the presidential campaign, an ill omen for the months ahead when careful and considered action will be needed.

 
The courtroom was tense. The prosecutor’s team fiddled with their new equipment. The defendant, tall and imposing in the dock, fidgeted with his shirt cuffs. Then the lights were switched off and a video scene flashed on the wall.   
 
Shortly after the Trump administration takes office in January 2017, it will need to consider its strategy in Afghanistan, the country from which al-Qaeda launched the 9/11 attacks and where U.S. and NATO-backed Afghan forces continue to battle the Taliban 15 years after the Islamist extremist group was ousted from power.  
 
Afghanistan is America's longest war, and since successfully completing the original mission, arguably its most pointless. After a decade and half, this conflict has taken more than 2,300 American lives, killed unknown tens of thousands of Afghan civilians, cost trillions in borrowed money that future generations will be forced to repay and left us only with a question about what we're now trying to accomplish.  
 
Proliferating blast walls and security checkpoints have transformed the Afghan capital, Kabul, into a maze of concrete. Driving is increasingly arduous. Cars and mopeds carrying explosives are a serious concern – so much so that many diplomats and international contractors now avoid the roads altogether.  
 

US President Barack Obama had planned to withdraw from Afghanistan completely by 2014, but according to Anatol Lieven, a professor of international politics at Georgetown University, he was forced to back down on his plan after repeated warnings that it would cause the Afghan army and state to collapse.

 

Residents of the capital city, Kabul, have been suffering from the shortage of the electricity power for a couple of months and just prior to the cold weather of winter.

 

In Pakistan's western neighborhood, the Afghans are also worried. Trump's focus on "America First" could lead to a drastic reduction in financial and military aid for Afghanistan. The president-elect's knowledge of Afghanistan is also very limited. Trump mentioned Afghanistan during his election campaign to draw extreme comparisons. For example, he claimed that "places like Afghanistan are safer" than some US cities.

 

Afghanistan’s Parliament has dismissed seven government ministers over the past four days, adding to the woes of a fragile coalition that for months had bickered over filling the cabinet positions in the first place.

 

US President Barack Obama had planned to withdraw from Afghanistan completely by 2014, but according to Anatol Lieven, a professor of international politics at Georgetown University, he was forced to back down on his plan after repeated warnings that it would cause the Afghan army and state to collapse.

 


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