After 16 Years of War, the United States and Afghanistan Ponder Next Steps

US Secretary of Defense James Mattis, charged with the task of deciding whether to send more US troops into Afghanistan, must determine the mission, the level of support from allies and other partners in the region, and the readiness of the Afghan government and its forces to withstand an insurgency. Ultimately, Mattis must decide if more military fighting can deliver conditions for peace. Marc Grossman and Tom West support commitment of 5,000 more US troops: “It is not in America’s interests to leave Afghanistan to its current trajectory, with the Taliban controlling ever larger swaths of the country, seeking to topple the Kabul government and allowing growing safe havens for both ISIS and al Qaeda.” Grossman, former US Under Secretary of State and US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, was a Kissinger Senior Fellow at Yale in 2013. West is a former senior US diplomat who served in Afghanistan. Sending troops has risks, and the two writers conclude that any commitment of US troops requires an integrated and whole-government strategy, with cooperation from multiple departments in the United States along with leaders in the wider region. – YaleGlobal