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December 9, 2019

5,000 Troops for 5 years: A no drama approach to Afghanistan for the next US president

Soldiers attached to the 101st Resolute Support Sustainment Brigade, Iowa National Guard and 10th Mountain, 2-14 Infantry Battalion, load onto a Chinook helicopter to head out on a mission in Afghanistan, January 15, 2019.     1st Lt. Verniccia Ford/U.S. Army/Handout via REUTERS   ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. - RC110D3B25B0

Summary

American and allied forces have been engaged in warfighting in Afghanistan for over 18 years, since just after the 9/11 terrorist attacks that originated in that country. While the U.S. military presence numbers about 13,000 troops today—down from nearly 100,000 in 2011—Americans feel a sense of fatigue about this “forever war.” Senior Fellow Michael O’Hanlon, the Sydney Stein, Jr. Chair at Brookings, argues that instead of a complete U.S. departure, stabilizing the military mission in Afghanistan at 5,000 troops for 5 years would allow the U.S. to achieve its core counterterrorism goals, and help foster peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.