1. Immediately following the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001, American military power sought out and aggressively attacked Al Qaeda and Taliban strongholds in Afghanistan. Within weeks, the United States removed the Taliban from governing Afghanistan and worked with the international community to establish a new democratic government led by Afghan native Hamid Karzai, who would soon be elected president. However, by 2006, the Taliban significantly increased attacks on pro-Afghan government officials, Afghan security forces, and coalition military members. The United States and partner North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members responded with a surge of military might in 2010 to make one final push to drive the Taliban out. With major ground now gained for the Afghan government in 2014, Afghanistan faces a critical crossroads in its nation’s history. After recovering areas once held by the Taliban, Afghanistan must become self-sufficient in sustaining its first democratic government. With Company Grade Officers (CGOs) in the American military key to reaching strategic objectives, a secure and democratic Afghanistan is in the national interest of the United States in order to prevent a safe-haven for international terrorist activity.
2. From 1979 to 1989, the former Soviet Union fought against Afghan insurgent groups called the Mujahideen. When the Soviets withdrew in 1989, warring factions of Mujahideen fighters clashed for power in Afghanistan. “In 1994, the Taliban emerged as a major force in the fight for control of war-torn Afghanistan...the Taliban wanted to wrestle control from the many entrenched warlords and to establish a religious society based around a strict interpretation of
Sharia, or Islamic law.” (Frontline World, 2007) At first, the people of Afghanistan welcomed the Taliban and the apparent peace and stability that followed their rise to power. However, the Taliban’s brutal enforcement of Sharia Law soon caused many to resent them. Public executions of those who broke the law were not uncommon. With the Taliban harboring the terrorist Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, mastermind of the 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, American military forces quickly took action and removed them from political power. However, since 2001, the United States has found itself involved in what has become the longest war in American history - fighting remnants of the Taliban and Islamic insurgent groups seeking to return the Taliban to political power. American military forces, along with international partners, have sacrificed over 3,500 lives and spent over $640 billion to protect the fledging democracy established in Afghanistan. (CSIS, 2013)
3. The United States established an agreement with Afghan president Karzai allowing American forces to remain in Afghanistan until December 31, 2014. However, the Afghan government has shown little interest in extending the length of this...