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American Military in AfghanistanShould the US maintain and increase the military force in Afghanistan?

Issue Background

On December 2nd, President Barack Obama announce that there would be an increase in troop levels in Afghanistan by 30,000. He also outlined a timetable for withdrawal after 18 months over an undetermined amount of time. The US occupation in Afghanistan began in late 2001 after the September 11th terrorist attacks in the US. The original goal of the mission was to capture Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, eradicate Al Qaeda, and to remove the Afghan Taliban from power. The Taliban quickly collapsed and receded from the capital but Bin Laden was never captured and Al Qaeda was never fully defeated. Since the original invasion the mission has shifted to nation building with the hopes of installing a democratic government.

Key Arguments

» Yes

  • The original mission has still not been completed.
  • If the US left Afghanistan there would be violent retaliation from the Taliban against US allies in Afghanistan.
  • It is necessary to shift focus from the Iraq war back to Afghanistan before there can be a complete exit plan.
  • The US needs to maintain a presence in Afghanistan because of the human rights violations of the Taliban, particularly with regards to women.

» No

  • The US is entering into an Afghani civil war that has been going on for 30 years.
  • The US supports the Karzai administration which has proved itself to be undemocratic and corrupt.
  • The US cannot afford to support an extended occupation of Afghanistan when there are serious domestic issues.
  • The main mission of the war in Afghanistan was accomplished in 2001 when Al Qaeda was largely defeated and the Taliban was removed from power. The orignal war in 2001 was justified in retaliation to a domestic attack but there should not be a nation build
  • If the goal of the war is to defeat terrorism then the focus of this mission should be a largely intelligence and police effort.


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