Although it infrequently finds front-page news, America’s longest war—now in its 17th year—continues in Afghanistan. While Afghan security forces have taken the lead on the ground, the ongoing and evolving mission still involves an important American and coalition role. Last summer, President Trump announced an increase of several thousand U.S. troops, after also relaxing and broadening their rules of engagement to allow commanders more leeway in the employment of force. Today, with the summer fighting season around the corner, examinations of past effectiveness and upcoming plans are well underway in hopes of applying learned best practices while moving forward.
On March 30, Foreign Policy at Brookings hosted Brigadier General Roger B. Turner, Jr., recently back from a tour in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, to discuss the current state of the conflict there. After opening remarks from General Turner, Brookings Senior Fellow Michael O’Hanlon posed several questions to the general, and took audience questions.
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At the end of the day, as we all know thorny national security issues don’t just involve the military; political-military considerations invariably bleed into them. If the senior military’s leadership views are going to be just constrained to military advice … who is thinking about issues from that broader perspective?