News Columns & Blogs

Pro-con on whether to leave Afghanistan

The war in Afghanistan started in October 2001 as a response to the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington that killed nearly 3,000 Americans, toppled the World Trade Center and badly damaged the Pentagon. Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida terrorist organization had been using Afghanistan as a base of operations with the consent of the Taliban-controlled Afghan government. American troops were sent in to disrupt the terror network and topple the Taliban and, in the beginning, they seemed to be having success. After eight years fighting in the South Asian country, it is time we realize that our mission there has been a failure. The concern now should be with what comes next, and it is becoming increasingly clear that a continued commitment to this war will do little more than further inflame an already inflamed region and sap our budget. — editorial

Lacking details of a new stabilization plan by Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commander of allied forces in Afghanistan, the debate in Washington over the U.S. military commitment in Afghanistan strikes us as grossly premature. One thing is undeniable: Without a strong U.S. commitment, Afghanistan will certainly return to the crazed lawlessness that predated the U.S. invasion of 2001. Those who suggest turning our backs on Afghanistan while the Taliban spreads its tentacles are conveniently forgetting: This is the same group that provided a safe haven for al-Qaida's leadership to plan the 9/11 attacks. Remember: Afghanistan is not Iraq. It's not another Vietnam. It is the birthplace of 9/11. — Dallas Morning News editorial