President Trump Inherits
America’s Longest War
Why His Policy Direction is the
Best Option Now for the U.S. to Pursue
With (LTC-USA/Ret) Bill Conrad
Following the 9/11 attacks in 2001, the United States demanded that the Taliban turn over Osama bin Laden, who we believed to be the mastermind behind the seizure of four civilian airliners and turn them into suicide weapons, three of which successfully struck targets, including the World Trade Center. The Taliban refused, and on October 7 the U.S. launched “Operation Enduring Freedom”, and was soon joined by the UK and other allies, including in Afghanistan, the Northern Alliance. The UN later established the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). In 2003 NATO assumed the leadership of the ISAF force, with over 40 countries participating.
After a few early setbacks, the Taliban responded and grew stronger, making significant territorial gains. Violence escalated in the 2007-09 period, the fighting expanded into Pakistan, and coalition troop numbers escalated through 2011, eventually reaching 140,000. Of these, the U.S. deployed just over 100,000. However, after years of stalemate, the U.S. announced in 2014 that “major combat operations” would cease and since then, responsibility for the conduct of the war has shifted to the Afghan government in Kabul. There are now less than 13,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan.
President Trump recently announced a troop strength increase of 4,000 in support of “Operation Resolute Support”, the NATO-led successor to ISAF. Bill Conrad will argue that the President’s new policy can defeat the Taliban and win the war! He believes that the effort can best succeed by further delegating “decision authority” down to battlefield commanders. He also would demand that the U.S. put pressure on Pakistan’s ISI (Inter-Service Intelligence) to eliminate Taliban sanctuaries in Pakistan.