As Military Situation in Afghanistan Deteriorates, U.S. Could be Drawn Back into Endless War

Posted Aug. 19, 2015

MP3 Interview with Matthew Hoh, senior fellow at the Center for International Policy, conducted by Scott Harris


While President Obama had planned to end the U.S. war in Afghanistan by the time he leaves office in January 2017, the escalation of Taliban attacks and the rise of ISIS in the war-torn country threatens to derail that timetable. Most U.S. combat troops were withdrawn from Afghanistan at the end of 2014, leaving behind some 10,000 American soldiers in the role of advisors and as a counterterrorism quick-reaction force. Half of those troops were scheduled to leave in 2016, but in March President Obama announced he would slow down the withdrawal schedule, leaving some or all of the troops in place through the end of next year.

America's longest war which was launched soon after the 9/11 attacks, has cost the lives of some 91,000 Afghans, over 2,300 U.S. soldiers, and nearly a trillion dollars. But the commitment of blood and treasure has done little to stabilize the country and with a new threat emerging from the Islamic State, there are likely darker days ahead.

The reported death of Taliban leader Mullah Omar has led to divisions within the insurgent force. The vacuum of leadership has coincided with the launch of Pakistan-brokered peace talks between the government of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and a Taliban faction that favors negotiations. But as the talks got underway, the country has suffered a wave of deadly Taliban suicide bomb attacks that have targeted a U.S. base, a police academy and the capital's international airport. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Matthew Hoh, senior fellow at the Center for International Policy. Hoh, a former Marine captain and Iraq War veteran resigned his State Department post in Afghanistan in 2009 in protest of American policy in the Afghan war. Here, he assesses the current situation in Afghanistan, the prospects for peace talks and concern that the U.S. could remain mired in an endless war.

For more information, visit Matthew Hoh's website at and the Center for International Policy at

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