President Barack Obama did an interview which will air PBS’s The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer tonight where he made an interesting bit of news. He said that the U.S. has no interest in leaving long term troops in Afghanistan.
Lehrer asked Obama if there is definition of victory in Afghanistan, and Obama replied, “I think there are achievable goals in Afghanistan, and the achievable goal is to make sure it’s not a safe haven for terrorists, to make sure that the Afghan people are able to determine their own fate. One of the things that I think we have to communicate in Afghanistan is that we have no interest or aspiration to be there over the long term. There’s a long history, as you know, in Afghanistan of rebuffing what is seen as an occupying force, and we have to be mindful of that history as we think about our strategy.”
This is big news become some have been wondering not only what Obama’s intentions were in Afghanistan, but if Afghanistan could become his presidency’s version of Iraq. One of the many mistakes that other nation’s have made in Afghanistan is that they tried to stay too long, and the local population turned against what they viewed as an occupying force. While the Obama administration would love nothing more than to get rid of the Taliban completely, that is a task that is easier said than done.
Right now, the Karzai government doesn’t have control over most of the country. The top goal of the U.S. there should be to make sure that al-Qaeda can never function there again, but this goes hand in hand with stabilizing the situation to allow the government to get control, so that the people of the nation can hopefully pick their own path for the future. Unlike Bush, Obama appears to have clear and reasonable goals for Afghanistan. However, I still that if Obama serves two terms, his goal should be to get all the troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan.