A troop reduction in Afghanistan

A troop reduction in Afghanistan

June 8th, 2011 in Opinion Free Press

A U.S.Chinook helicopter lands at the Afghan Border Police headquarters in Jalalabad, Nangarhar province, east Kabul, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

President Barack Obama plans to begin a large reduction of American troops in Afghanistan next month.

How many of our 100,000 troops will come home? No details or timetable are available, though the administration says it will amount to a "real drawdown" of troops. Ultimately, all foreign combat troops are supposed to depart from Afghanistan by late 2014.

Plainly, the American people want to prevent victory by our enemies in Afghanistan. It was the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on America by al-Qaida terrorists based in Afghanistan that drew us into war that year.

So, with al-Qaida's founder - Osama bin Laden - having been killed by U.S. forces in Pakistan, and with the terrorists there having suffered serious losses, should we just "declare victory" and leave? What will happen after a substantial U.S. military withdrawal? It's unpredictable.

The long U.S. involvement in Afghanistan has been painful. We do not envy the difficult task that the Obama administration has in deciding what to do there - and when to do it. Solutions are in short supply.