When Joe Biden attempted to justify ending the Afghanistan surge early because it allows Afghan forces to handle things themselves, he overlooked (or failed to realize) a couple of crucial points.
Republican VP Candidate Paul Ryan explained the first of these points when he warned that the lowered number of American troops in Afghanistan necessarily makes patrols by the remaining troops more dangerous, for there are less of them to send out together.
Ryan explained that the Obama administration had drawn out “22,000 troops last month, but the remaining troops that are there, still have the same mission to prosecute counterinsurgency, [and] are [now] doing it with fewer people. That makes them less safe.”
Biden tried to refute this by suggesting the Afghan forces would take up the slack.
And this leads to the second point, which is that the Afghan forces are not taking up the slack. Instead,they refuse to step out into the danger zones unless accompanied by U.S. forces.
Therefore, Biden’s intimation that the remaining American troops will not be in greater danger because Afghan forces will be the ones going out is simply not true. In reality, in the absence of the additional U.S. surge troops, our remaining forces have to make every trip outside the wire themselves, because Afghan troops refuse to go without escort.
In fact, the Afghan troops have been open about their fear of taking over where the Americans left off, and they are even looking to the complete U.S. withdrawal in 2014 with some trepidation.
This, in turn, goes back to Ryan’s original point: the American forces that are still in country are in a more dangerous situation because of the 22,000 troops Obama and Biden pulled out ahead of schedule.
Our troops support us. It’s high time we support them.