When I came back from Afghanistan in 2007, I was asked by a variety of reporters in both newspaper and radio interviews how much longer I thought we would need to be in Afghanistan. I remember the somewhat shocked looks on the faces of those I was sitting across from when I said 10-15 more years. I have stood by that number repeatedly since then. I had hoped for a shorter window but the reality is “hope is not a method”.
So in 2007, 15 more years would mean 2022. That was the far end of my estimate at the time. Now we sit here on April 23, 2012 and find out that a deal is being worked to keep some type of supporting presence and of course Millions, if not Billions of supporting dollars going to Afghanistan until about 2024.
The long-waited withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan may be not as “full” as had been expected. The US will help defend the country militarily for at least a decade after Afghans take control of their security, a National Security Adviser said.
The pledge is contained in the new strategic pact agreed between the two countries on Sunday, Rangin Dadfar Spanta said on Monday. A section of this pact implies that the US will not to use Afghanistan as a launch pad for attacks on other countries in the region, including for drone strikes.
However he stressed that the US will only come to Afghanistan’s aid with approval from Kabul.
Washington may use “diplomatic means, political means, economic means and even military means,” the official said, as cited by AP.
Also under the agreement, after 2014 the US will continue supporting Afghan security forces financially. The US will fork out up to $4 billion annually, if the funding is approved by the Congress.
So $4 Billion a year for 10 years plus troops there also? I am not sure the American voter and taxpayer will stand for that. I think our nipples are tender and sore and as a nation we are ready to kick the baby off the teet.
If you get a chance, go back and listen to last week’s You Served Radio where Wendy, Marcus and myself talked for another 30 minutes after the show stopped airing live. Afghanistan and my predictions about it were a mainstay of the discussion and even in that talk, I stated yet again it would take 10-15 years after I got back in 2007. That happened last Tuesday, well before the reports started leaking out today. Check out the broadcast at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/youserved/2012/04/18/you-served-radio. We start talking Afghanistan specifically around the 1 hour, 55 minute mark.
Let me just close by saying I really, really wish I was wrong. I hoped and prayed as a country they would stand up and take on more of the burden and truly care about their country as a whole. I encourage you to check out the archived podcast from last week and listen to me explain it in a lot more detail and with more emotion then can be expressed here on the blog.