Mar 26 2015

Obama Extends US Occupation of Afghanistan, Bowe Bergdahl Charged

Feature Stories | Published 26 Mar 2015, 10:30 am | Comments Off on Obama Extends US Occupation of Afghanistan, Bowe Bergdahl Charged -

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GUEST: Matthew Hoh, Senior Fellow at the Center for International Policy and former Director of the Afghanistan Study Group …

Afghanistan’s new President Ashraf Ghani, is visiting the US this week for the first time since his inauguration. The main outcome of his Tuesday meeting with President Barack Obama was an extension of the US occupation of Afghanistan. Currently there are 9,800 US troops in Afghanistan, and Obama had promised to halve that number this year. Now, citing a “request” for “flexibility” from Mr. Ghani, the troop levels will be maintained until at least the end of the year. As a result, the US’s highly controversial “special operations” forces will continue to operate in areas deemed to be infested with Taliban activity.

Mr. Ghani also addressed a Joint Session of Congress yesterday, ingratiating himself to the US for its involvement in Afghanistan over the past 13 years. As such he represents a far more pliant head of state than his predecessor, Hamid Karzai had become. Ghani had lived in the US for decades before running for election where he received substantial US backing. While he has little history in Afghanistan’s various conflicts, his Vice President, Abdul Rashid Dostum, and Chief Executive Officer, Abdullah Abdullah, are both notorious warlords with a history of murder and mayhem.

Meanwhile, a US soldier who left his base in Afghanistan years ago, only to be captured by Taliban forces and tortured for five years before his release, is now facing charges of desertion and misbehavior from the US Army. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, whose release was obtained through a prisoner swap with the Taliban, could face life in prison and dishonorable discharge if convicted.

To read Matthew Hoh’s work visit, visit, or go to the Center for International Policy.

GUEST:…Matthew Hoh is also a former US Marine, and State Department official who resigned in protest from his post in Afghanistan over in 2009.

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