U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis confirmed the United States is sending 3,000 more soldiers to Afghanistan to fight the Taliban.
Although the official U.S. combat mission ended in 2014, 8,000 American soldiers remain in Afghanistan advising local forces. However, the Taliban has been making a comeback and Afghan security forces are struggling to contain it.
The United States invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 after the Taliban, which had been in power since 1993, refused to hand over al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden. They did so as part of a broader NATO coalition and seized control of the country in a matter of weeks.
Roughly 10,000 American soldiers were in Afghanistan by 2002. However, the U.S. switched its focus to Iraq, and the Taliban were able to regroup and mount a counteroffensive. To tackle this problem, Bush and then Obama sent in a “surge” of soldiers, rising to a peak of 100,000 in Afghanistan by August of 2010.
Since then the war has rumbled on with no end in sight. Not only has the U.S. not defeated the Taliban, but now ISIS is operational in Afghanistan. The Taliban recently threatened to make Afghanistan a “graveyard” for US forces.
So is Trump making the right decision to send more troops?