Eight years after the start of the war in Afghanistan, a reassessment was underway in Washington about the size of the American military force and its mission. As the Senate Foreign Relations Committee heard from a panel of experts on al-Qaeda, President Obama conferred with his national security team at the White House. Some on Capitol Hill welcomed his willingness to explore alternatives to a major troop buildup. “My great fear about Afghanistan is that we will get bogged down into a never-ending quagmire there with more and more loss of life and billions more spent,” Senator Bernie Sanders said. “We need to be a lot clearer as to what our goals in Afghanistan are, and what our exit strategy will be. I am glad that President Obama is rethinking our options there and looking at alternatives to a major increase in troops. Obviously, we have to be vigilant in the fight against terrorism, but we’ve got to do it in a smart way.”
American forces have been in Afghanistan since 2001.
“We need a national debate about what our goals are,” Sanders said of war that already has lasted twice as long as the American involvement in World War II. “I don't think the alternatives are simply to pull out tomorrow, or to put in tens of thousands of more troops.”