(Cross-posted at Stayin' Alive)
The sudden announcement by Individual 1 that the U.S. military will withdraw entirely from Syria, and troop strength in Afghanistan will be reduced by half, has created shock around the world. I have tried to be circumspect about my own opinions here, but I think it's clear I view the Afghanistan operation as a Sisyphean and pointless folly. I haven't referenced the U.S. presence in Syria much although it is obviously closely linked to the Iraqi operation. My general position is that the U.S. is far too inclined to try to solve problems militarily. However, since the U.S. created the catastrophe of IS, we did have an obligation to help solve it. Staying back and providing logistical and some air and artillery support to local troops was probably the best of bad choices. The question of when to go, and on what terms, is still critical. Here is Adam Silverman on Syria.
The Taliban, not suprisingly, have welcomed the announcement because they have made withdrawal of foreign troops a precondition for peace. However, of course, this actually complicates prospects for peace because they can wait until all the U.S. forces are gone and then largely dictate terms to the Kabul government, a view shared by many Afghans. Nevertheless NATO remains committed to Afghanistan so perhaps this will make little difference. In any case it was done impulsively and without proper planning and coordination.