President Donald Trump inherited an Afghanistan war in much worse shape than the one Barack Obama took over from George W. Bush, a conflict he made his own soon after taking office in 2009.
The following are just some examples of the Obama’s “good war” legacy left behind for the Trump administration:
- The vast majority of U.S. military troops killed and wounded: under Obama’s watch.
- The Taliban now controls more territory since the United States overthrew the terrorist group in 2001.
- Afghan civilian and Afghan National Defense and Security Force (ANDSF) — both army and police units — have suffered record casualties.
- Opium production and cultivation used to generate proceeds for terrorist activities have reached record levels despite billions in American taxpayer funds spent on counternarcotics efforts.
- The U.S. State Department deemed the Taliban the world’s most prolific terrorist group in 2016, within a year after former Obama declared an end to the American combat mission and drastically reduced the number of American troops.
- Islamic State’s Khorasan Province (ISIS-K) established a presence in Afghanistan back in January 2015.
- Despite billions in U.S. taxpayer funds invested in developing the Afghan security forces, they suffer from capability lapses.
- Gen. John Nicholson, the top commander of U.S. and NATO troops, told reporters the Afghanistan-Pakistan region is home to the largest concentration of terrorist groups in the world — not including the Taliban because the United States has not officially deemed the jihadist group a terrorist organization.
- Russia, Pakistan, and Iran are reportedly lending military aid to the Taliban, claiming that they are helping the group fight its rival ISIS-K.
- China, which shares a border with Afghanistan, has deployed military troops in the war-ravaged country in response to the ongoing chaos and out of concern of U.S.-NATO withdrawal.
The mainstream media constantly reminded the American people that Obama had inherited two difficult wars from Bush — Iraq and Afghanistan. However, now that Trump is president, the use of the phrase “inherited wars” is notably missing from the mainstream media’s lexicon.
President Trump did not only inherit wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama also ordered strikes against jihadist groups in Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. While Obama did wind down the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, it’s a move that some critics have deemed a mistake.
Recent assessments by the Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) and the U.S. intelligence community reveal little optimism among officials with key information regarding the situation on the ground.
President Trump’s national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, has proposed escalating the estimated 8,400 American troops in Afghanistan by about 3,000 more to try push the Taliban into negotiating with the U.S.-backed Afghan government, an effort that has repeatedly failed.
For years, the Taliban has insisted that the only way it will engage in peace talks with the Afghan government is if the U.S.-NATO troops leave the country, a demand that has been a non-starter for the international forces.
Obama failed to keep his campaign promise to end the war in Afghanistan. He did dramatically reduce the U.S. military footprint in the war-ravaged country as he ended the American combat mission at the end of 2014.
However, the Taliban had surpassed the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) as the world’s most prolific jihadist group within a year after Obama ended the combat mission. Security conditions have since only continued to worsen. The Taliban has repeatedly declined participating in peace talks, claiming it is winning the war.