Calling the approaching end of America’s combat mission in Afghanistan an “enormous achievement,” President Obama on Wednesday seemed intent on shifting the burden squarely onto the Afghans and putting Washington’s longest war farther in the nation’s rearview mirror.
“Our reduced presence there allows us to more effectively address emerging threats in the Middle East and North Africa,” Obama told the graduating class of West Point cadets, the first since Sept. 11, 2001, that is unlikely to see combat in the near future.
…Retired Adm. James G. Stavridis, who played a leading role in Afghan policy as the top commander of NATO forces from 2009 to 2013, said that a smooth political transition in Afghanistan could make the Obama administration’s withdrawal time frame viable. But he said he was uncomfortable over the risk inherent in the administration’s timeline.
“I think it’s quite possible that by the end of next year we could be in a position to really turn this over,” said Stavridis, who is now the dean of Tufts University’s Fletcher School. “But it’s going to be risky. I would have preferred a conditions-based concept.”
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