US President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing continued military engagement in Afghanistan in 2015 contrary to the original plans of withdrawing the troops completely from the country.
The latest decision was announced during a White House meeting with national security advisors and ensures a direct role for the US army in fighting in Afghanistan for at least another year. Obama had earlier said the US military would be withdrawn completely leaving behind 9800 troops that would be training the Afghan forces and look out for the ‘remnants of al Qaeda’. The remaining troops would be completely withdrawn by 2015 and the US presence would be limited to an embassy with security assistance office in Kabul by 2016. The new authorization also allows U.S. air strikes to support Afghan forces on military operations and U.S. troops occasionally to accompany Afghan troops on operations against the Taliban and other military groups that pose a threat to the US and Afghanistan.
Obama asserted that it was not the duty of the US to make Afghanistan a perfect place and that it was time for the Afghans to stabilize their country. The President’s decision invited huge criticisms from inside and outside the party with some comparing it to the fate of Iraq and the rise of Islamic State, the most dangerous militant group at present. Even though the former Afghan President, Hamid Karsai, had been an American puppet, his relationship with the US had been strained in the years. But with the new President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, the US-Afghan relationship has grown more diplomatic.
The aspirations of ending more than a decade of military presence in Afghanistan, , seems distant. The military engagement was triggered by the Trade Centre attacks on September 11. As the President of the world’s most powerful nation says, in the present century, wars are not ended by signing ceremonies but through decisive blows against the adversaries, transitions to elected governments, security forces who were trained to take the lead and ultimately full responsibility. Despite the death of thousands of US soldiers in the fruitless misadventure in Afghanistan, over the last thirteen years, Obama still finds it difficult to step back from Afghanistan. He had said that it was harder to end wars than it was to begin them. It blatantly implies that the jet and the drone attacks would continue even into the coming years.