By Andres Ibarra |Staff Writer|
During a surprise visit to Afghanistan, President Barack Obama promised the troops, after nearly 13 years of fighting, he intends to end the war in Afghanistan by the end of this year.
Speaking to the troops at Bagram Airbase, Obama said the war has reached a crucial point with Afghan forces claiming primary responsibility for their country’s security. This will allow most of the 32,000 stationed U.S. troops to depart.
However, he still plans on having a few troops to remain stationed in Afghanistan in order to protect the gains made during the war, according to The Huffington Post.
“After all of the sacrifices we’ve made, we want to preserve the gains you made that you have helped to win and we’re going to make sure that Afghanistan can never again, ever, be used again to launch an attack against the our country,” said Obama.
Some people have been skeptical about the news.
“I’ll believe it when I see it,” said student Vince Holguin.
Some people believe Obama will be able to end the war by the end of the year, such as Jordan Gallinger, a CSUSB Marine veteran who was stationed in Afghanistan.
“I do believe this is an achievable goal. With the current conflict between the U.S. and Afghan administrations, a full withdrawal of combat service members in Afghanistan is a very possible reality,” stated Gallinger.
David Briggs, CSUSB Arabic tutor and five-year army veteran who was also stationed in Afghanistan, he expects the war to dwindle down over the course of two and a half years with the plan of leaving 9,800 stationed troops for the next two years.
“There will be limited engagements; we will still suffer losses, so the war won’t really be over depending on the definition of war,” stated Briggs.
Likewise, Gallinger said that leaving a few troops in Afghanistan allows the U.S. military personnel to remain in an advisory or training capacity.
However, they both said that this doesn’t mean the troops will be able to return home, saying that there are lots of other nations that may need some help.
“Based on the administration’s activities in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and our presence in Jordan in response to the Syrian situation, we may see that some of the troop levels currently in Afghanistan be redeployed to other parts of the Middle East rather than return to the U.S.,” continues Briggs.
Since the conflict started in 2001, at least 2,181 U.S. military fatalities have been recorded, with thousands wounded, according to the Huffington Post.
The casualties and overall conflict in Afghanistan has been in decline over the last several years, which has been the result of decreased combat, and is expected to go lower this year.