Afghan Officials Want Us Out of Afghanistan. So Let’s Get Out.

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The Washington Post reports that there’s already disagreement between American and Afghan officials about exactly what “withdrawal” means:

Top Afghan officials said Obama’s pledge last week to remove U.S. troops from Afghan villages should apply to Special Operations forces charged with training the Afghan Local Police. But U.S. officials said they assumed that the policy would apply only to traditional military operations and would include an exemption for the police trainers, whose mission they see as critical to security throughout Afghanistan.

The dispute underscored just how difficult negotiations over a long-term security partnership could be during the next year. The disagreement, like others before it, centers on the fundamental question of what will keep Afghans safe: U.S. officials say the local police program thwarts insurgents, but Karzai insists that it invites attacks.

I know it’s easy to get too simplistic about this stuff, but in this case I think simplistic is best. This kind of mission just flatly can’t work if the host nation isn’t cooperative. So it really doesn’t matter how critical Americans think the training program is. If Afghan leaders are opposed to it, then it’s time to stop. It’s not worth risking a single American life for a program that has no chance of producing long-term results.

The U.S. mission in Afghanistan has failed. Maybe that’s because of poor planning, or maybe it never had a chance of working regardless. At this point it no longer matters except as grist for lessons learned. It’s time to get out.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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