From time to time, I plan to write about world events that relate to international issues that we study at The Fletcher School at Tufts University.  In my OpEd in yesterday’s Foreign Policy, I discussed my thoughts about the numbers of American and allied troops that will remain in Afghanistan after 2014. Here’s an excerpt:

At the moment, NATO officials and the U.S. commander, General Joe Dunford, are waiting for the conclusion of the “fighting season” in October before rendering a recommendation to political leadership. This recommendation will go from General Dunford in Kabul up through both a U.S. and a NATO chain of command, and a decision may not be made until deep into the fall.

Instead of waiting for months, we should move now to decide and publically reveal the commitment.

Logar Province, Afghanistan. Photo: U.S. Army

Logar Province, Afghanistan. Photo: U.S. Army

Articulating the number in the range of 15,000 total troops would break the Taliban narrative decisively, making a lie of their oft-repeated trope that “the foreigners are leaving”; it would reassure the Afghans; it would demonstrate needed leadership to the large international coalition that is awaiting U.S. decisions. It would also encourage the conclusion of the strategic agreement between the United States and Afghanistan.

Why 15,000 troops?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

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