Since 2001 the United States has had boots on the ground in Afghanistan, and for the better part of the last decade U.S. policymakers have been trying to figure a way out.
But 16 years later, it doesn’t seem that we’re any closer. Earlier this week the Pentagon appointed a new commander over U.S. and NATO forces conducting operations in Afghanistan, this action was trailed by an announcement that a thousand troops from Ft. Hood will be shipping out to provide relief to forces already deployed abroad.
But what’s going on in Afghanistan and why does it seem that America can’t loosen its foothold just yet? Ryan Crocker, dean of the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, is a former U.S. ambassador to the Middle East, including Afghanistan.
Crocker says Lt. Gen. Mick Nicholson was the two-star chief of operations in Afghanistan while Crocker was ambassador.
“There is no military officer who knows Afghanistan better,” he says, “or who has fought harder.”
The choice is telling, Crocker says. “We’re not going away anytime soon,” he says. “If they were looking for somebody to wind down the operation, they would not pick Mick Nicholson. He’s there to fight.”
What you’ll hear in this segment:
– How this reflects on Obama’s promise to leave Afghanistan
– What conditions on the ground may have swayed the decision to stay
– What Crocker means when he says, “We’ve seen this movie before.”