Troop plan follows Iraq playbook
WASHINGTON – It’s the same debate, the same numbers and practically the same plan, but the White House is working harder to keep troops in Afghanistan than it did in similar but failed discussions in Iraq in 2011.
Security remains shaky in both war zones, but current and former U.S. officials say the Obama administration cannot afford to lose in Afghanistan after a dozen years of fighting and an ongoing threat by al-Qaida and its extremist Taliban allies. Defeating al-Qaida and bolstering Afghan forces to prevent the terror network’s return there has been a top priority for President Barack Obama since he took office, while ending the war in Iraq was the fulfillment of a campaign promise.
“We’ve made a lot of progress against al-Qaida, but the job is not done,” Doug Lute, the top White House military adviser on Afghanistan, told reporters this week. “The Afghan National Security Forces are a work in progress.”
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