Saturday, June 6, 2015

Afghanistan: Obama’s Surge

In the wake of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, an international coalition of nations participated in military action against the Taliban government, beginning with aerial bombardment on October 7, 2001. Until December 31, 2014, United States troops have been in Afghanistan in Operation Enduring Freedom.

Since January 1, 2015, the military designation for U.S. presence in Afghanistan has been Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

By January 2009, U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan had grown to 32,800. For most of the time between October 2001 and January 2009, levels were under 20,000.

Upon taking office in January 2009, Barack Obama began a surge of troops, raising levels to over 100,000 within two years. The Obama Surge lasted until September 2012, at which time levels were reduced to 68,000, a number still more than double the troop level when Obama took office.

Currently, the Obama administration is projecting a gradual drawdown until a force of 1,000 is left in Afghanistan during 2017. In March 2015, a New York Times headline read “U.S. to Delay Pullout of Troops From Afghanistan to Aid Strikes,” and a Reuters article was titled “Obama slows withdrawal of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.”

As of June 2015, the U.S. had around 9,800 troops in Afghanistan.

The American soldiers were the majority of the force in the area, joining approximately 7,000 soldiers from a coalition which included Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Mongolia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the UK, and around twenty other nations.

A statistical overview reveals that, compared the U.S. action in Afghanistan during the Bush administration, the Obama administration engaged in a massive escalation and surge.