The Strategic Significance of a Secure Afghanistan to the United States

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1. Immediately following the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001, American military power sought out and aggressively attacked Al Qaeda and Taliban strongholds in Afghanistan. Within weeks, the United States removed the Taliban from governing Afghanistan and worked with the international community to establish a new democratic government led by Afghan native Hamid Karzai, who would soon be elected president. However, by 2006, the Taliban significantly increased attacks on pro-Afghan government officials, Afghan security forces, and coalition military members. The United States and partner North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members responded with a surge of military might in 2010 to make one final push to drive the Taliban out. With major ground now gained for the Afghan government in 2014, Afghanistan faces a critical crossroads in its nation’s history. After recovering areas once held by the Taliban, Afghanistan must become self-sufficient in sustaining its first democratic government. With Company Grade Officers (CGOs) in the American military key to reaching strategic objectives, a secure and democratic Afghanistan is in the national interest of the United States in order to prevent a safe-haven for international terrorist activity.
2. From 1979 to 1989, the former Soviet Union fought against Afghan insurgent groups called the Mujahideen. When the Soviets withdrew in 1989, warring factions of Mujahideen fighters clashed for power in Afghanistan. “In 1994, the Taliban emerged as a major force in the fight for control of war-torn Afghanistan...the Taliban wanted to wrestle control from the many entrenched warlords and to establish a religious society based around a strict interpretation...

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