PRESIDENT Barack Obama has admitted defeat in Afghanistan and has decided to keep 5,500 US troops there when he leaves office in 2017, according to senior administration officials, dumping his promise to end the war on his watch, and handing on the war and much else to his successor.
Military leaders have been arguing for months that the Afghans needed additional assistance and support from the US to beat back a resurgent Taliban and hold onto gains made over the last 14 years at the expense of thousands of American dead and hundreds of billions of dollars in war costs.
Officials said yesterday that Obama would be outlining plans to maintain the current force of 9,800 troops in Afghanistan through most of next year, then draw down to 5,500 troops in 2017, at a pace still to be determined by commanders.
‘The narrative that we’re leaving Afghanistan is self-defeating,’ Defence Secretary Ash Carter had said on Wednesday during a speech at the Association of the US Army. He said: ‘We’re not, we can’t and to do so would not be to take advantage of the success we’ve had to date.’
Last month, Taliban fighters took control of the key northern city of Kunduz, prompting a protracted battle with Afghan forces on the ground, involving desperate US airstrikes on a hospital which contained no Taliban, killing 22 people, including 12 MSF doctors and 10 patients.
US commanders have also expressed their concern about Islamic State fighters moving into the country and gaining recruits from within the Taliban. US officials also said that NATO allies had expressed support for extending the troop presence in Afghanistan, and it is believed that PM Cameron has signalled to Obama that British troops are available for the task.
Obama campaigned for the presidency on a pledge to end America’s involvement in the two wars he inherited, Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, like so many others, these pledges are broken. However, the US is not only remaining in Afghanistan, it is about to enter a new war in Cameroon.
Obama has announced that US armed forces have been deployed to Cameroon to help fight against the Islamist Boko Haram movement, which is now part of IS, and has renamed Cameroon as the ‘West African province of the Caliphate’.
The force, which will be 300 strong, will conduct airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operations in the region seeking to halt the movement of IS fighters from Libya through Chad and into Cameroon and Nigeria.
Obama set no time limit for the engagement saying that US forces would remain in Cameroon until they were ‘no longer needed’. He has notified Congress that an advance force of 90 troops were sent to the country on Monday. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the mission would be ‘part of a broader regional effort to stop the spread of Boko Haram and other violent extremist organisations in West Africa’.
US imperialism and its UK accomplice are now bogged down and trapped in quagmires that they have created through the 2003 destruction of the Iraq state, that saw the rise of Al-Qaeda and then ISIS, then the 2011 war to kill Colonel Gadaffi that put the Islamists into power in the oil-rich country, and then the war against Assad for which Islamists from all over the world were shipped and flown in to smash the secular Baathist regime.
IS is now active and ruling part of Libya while moving southwards into Chad, Nigeria and Cameroon.
The Middle East and North Africa has been shattered forcing millions of its people into making desperate attempts to reach Europe.
The UK even now is planning to bomb Syria, to try and smash the secular regime of Assad, leaving it to make a deal with the IS and the Al Nusra Front. This is the reality behind the statements that ‘first we must deal with Assad’ and then ‘we’ can, no doubt, make a deal with the Islamists.
The only way to free North Africa and the Middle East from the scourge of imperialism, is to smash imperialism at home, starting in the UK by workers bringing down the Cameron government and bringing in a workers’ government and socialism.
This will withdraw all troops from the Middle East and Africa, end support for the Gulf caliphates, and Israel, and allow the Arab people to settle their own affairs.