- - Tuesday, May 19, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The Obama administration finally listened to our military leaders and are now planning to leave 9,800 troops in Afghanistan through 2016 and probably beyond (“Officials: US to keep more troops in Afghanistan into 2016,” Web, March 16). Originally they were going to draw down to 5,500 troops.

The Taliban continues to pose a threat in Afghanistan and the Islamic State could rear its ugly head. Our troops could be needed to quash enemy attacks in the region. Compared to our prior strength of 100,000 troops, the U.S. troops remaining in Afghanistan might not have the numerical strength to counter the Taliban throughout the country, and we cannot count on the Afghan army to stand up to the Taliban.

Gen. Joe Dunford, commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, has said that Afghan troops will not be capable of conducting meaningful operations in Afghanistan once U.S. forces leave. We should keep the 9,800 troops in Afghanistan until the end of 2017 and then re-evaluate the situation. We need ongoing capabilities to conduct special operations and surgical air and missile strikes to support the troops.

The release of five top-level Taliban terrorists from Guantanamo will come back to haunt us when they return to Afghanistan to continue their destabilizing activities and attacks on our forces and Afghan citizens. Our national security is partially dependent on maintaining a significant military presence in Afghanistan.

DONALD A. MOSKOWITZ

Londonderry, N.H.

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