Raleigh News & Observer Publishes Afghanistan OpEd by Board Member, Matthew Hoh and Digital Director, Usha Sahay

Time to take U.S. out of the Afghanistan equation

After a decade of fighting, it is easy to forget that America is still at war, and in Afghanistan combat operations are scheduled to continue for another year and a half. Even after the official “end� to the war in December 2014, a number of American soldiers may remain. Recent reports suggest that an agreement to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan may be imminent.

U.S. soldiers have fought hard and bravely for nearly 12 years. It is time for President Obama to bring them home – all of them.

Consider the troubling events that have occurred in 2013 alone. “Insider� attacks against U.S. forces persist, while the insurgency continues to mount suicide attacks in Afghanistan’s cities. The United Nations recently reported that civilian casualties are up 38 percent compared with the same time period last year, and the Afghanistan NGO Safety Office found insurgent attacks to be up 47 percent from last year.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon stopped releasing data on the war after the Associated Press found the Pentagon to be manipulating data to falsely claim progress. It is clear that the American military strategy, embraced in 2009 by President Obama, to force the Taliban to the negotiation table has failed. Thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars have been wasted.

It is time to rethink the wisdom of maintaining an American footprint. Some stubbornly insist that U.S. soldiers must remain in Afghanistan to help promote stability. In fact, the reverse is true: The presence of foreign soldiers is actually furthering instability. The Karzai government is the weakest it has been politically since its inception, the insurgency is broader and stronger than at any point since 2001 and warlords once again control fiefdoms.

To see the article, click here.