Why is the US still in Afghanistan?

On Aug. 21, 2017, President Donald Trump addressed American soldiers and Army generals at the Fort Myers military base in Arlington, Virginia, announcing that he was taking a new approach to the war in Afghanistan – the longest war in U.S. history, and its costliest since World War II.

Trump said American service members would be withdrawn on a "condition-based" approach and not according to a timetable. “One way or another these problems will be solved,” he said. “In the end, we will win.”

To that end, the number of U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan would increase by 3,000, bringing the total number to 14,000. The U.S. military mission in Afghanistan is to train, advise and assist the Afghan military who are doing the actual fighting against the Taliban and ISIS, but U.S. military personnel can find themselves in combat situations while carrying out the advisory mission.

Trump, in a shift from his predecessor, gave more power to military leaders in carrying out operations, bestowing additional authority on the Pentagon. On April 13, 2017, the U.S. military deployed a GBU-43, nicknamed “the mother of all bombs,” on an ISIS tunnel in Afghanistan. It sent a strong signal about how the new president was positioning himself on the fight against terror.

17 years into the campaign, what is the situation like currently in Afghanistan?


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