On April 30, 1975, the United States finally pulled out of Vietnam after 19 years, 5 months, 4 weeks and 1 day.
On September 26, 2001, the U.S. planted its first boots in Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11. Fifteen years, 3 months, 30 days later, there are 13,000 members of the American military still in the quagmire that is Afghanistan. Five thousand and six hundred days fighting a battle that some say is simply unwinnable.
In 2016 alone, the Taliban claims it killed more than 17,500 people. In total, some 3,500 Americans gave their lives since the invasion with in excess of 20,000 wounded.
The reasons for the U.S. presence in Afghanistan are obvious and without them, the Afghan’s would slip back into the never-ending swamp of warfare.
Here are some more facts about the “Vietnam” of the 21st Century that came to light in the last few days:
- Iran is supplying the Taliban with rockets, according to the governor of Helmand Province
- The Taliban launched some 19,000 attacks over the last 10 months, says the Afghan Defense Ministry
- As many as 50 people were killed in two explosions in Kabul
- Up to 80 ISIS and al-Qaeda fighters were killed in foreign-nation airstrikes in Zabul Province
- Germany sent dozens of Afghani refugees back to Kabul. The refugees fear they are returning to death
The problem for the Pentagon and White House is that as soon as America withdraws the last of its 10,000 soldiers and 3,000 trainers, Afghanistan will likely collapse and Islamists could well raise their flag once again over yet another country.
The Islamists are determined to achieve that aim and Afghanistan is ripe for the picking.
The dilemma for Washington is not just moral – the question of how many more Afghanis will die should the U.S. quit – but also strategic. Can the U.S. afford for Islamist ideology to spread even further and deeper in a part of the world that is often out of control and spreads its hate far and wide, including across the borders of Europe and North America?
In this video a Stratfor analyst suggests U.S. President Donald Trump will not withdraw soldiers from Afghanistan:
David Harris is editor in chief of Clarion Project.