Pell Center

The Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salve Regina is a multidisciplinary research center focused at the intersection of politics, policies and ideas.

The Wage of a Continued Presence in Afghanistan

According to Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, “We clearly have had an impact on (al-Qaida’s) presence in Afghanistan…”

Impact; what impact? Each day, an American family loses a loved one to the Taliban; roughly 2,000 soldiers have died since we retained a presence in Afghanistan in 2001, nearly eleven years ago. And many of those who fought, but were not killed, now suffer of PTSD, a growing mental condition which has sadly imprinted itself among our country’s bravest individuals.

This war has been the longest in all of our nation’s history. Naturally, questions surface that surround the thought of us maintaining our forces in a country that has had more than a decade to reform itself and make progress in a world that is more inclined to modernity. Is it worth it anymore, or was it ever, to sacrifice our sons and daughters for a country that seems rather incapable of change?

President Barack Obama has been working diligently with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan to sign a strategic partnership agreement which should promise a sense of stability in a relationship between the two countries which aims to last into the future. This agreement has aided the transition to an “Afghan responsibility” for security. The presidents plan to have the security forces handle the majority of combat missions by the end of next year. And by 2014, the Afghans will have taken over completely.

The end of this era welcomes the renewal of America. Perhaps this new generation will live in a time without war, and will experience economic splendor and tranquility at home. I do not believe that a continued presence in Afghanistan will help to stabilize the country; however we, as Americans with sound moral judgment, shall make sure that the Afghan security forces are strong enough to take over where we left off. When this idea becomes reality in 2014, the United States will finally be able to focus on herself and on her people.

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