The US may reportedly wash its hands of Afghanistan in the next 5 years

Bullet Points
Marines and sailors with Marine Expeditionary Brigade – Afghanistan load onto a KC-130 aircraft on the Camp Bastion flightline, Oct. 27, 2014. U.S. Marine Corps photo

Like Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong, U.S. officials have a five-year plan — for ending America's longest war, that is.

  • The New York Times reports that a new U.S. government plan would see the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan in the next three to five years, with half of the 14,000 American service members currently deployed there headed home "in coming months."
  • The plan would also see the 8,600 European and Australian forces take over the train, advise, and assist mission that's been a cornerstone of the NATO presence there for the last, with U.S. military personnel increasingly focused on "counterterrorism strikes" against militant targets, according to the Times.
  • The Times' account of the withdrawal plan, described as "offered in peace negotiations with the Taliban," is based on details shared with reported "by more than a half dozen current and former American and European officials."
  • But Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Koné Faulkner flatly denied the report a statement to Task & Purpose: "As peace talks with the Taliban continue, DoD is considering all options of force numbers and disposition, but no decisions have been made at this time."

Task & Purpose Pentagon correspondent Jeff Schogol contributed reporting

SEE ALSO: The US Has Worked Out A 'Draft Framework' With The Taliban To End The War In Afghanistan

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Gen. Chuck Horner (ret.) commanded the air campaign of Desert Storm (Task & Purpose photo illustration)

When Air Force Gen. Chuck Horner (ret.) took to the podium at the dedication of the National Desert Storm and Desert Shield Memorial site in Washington D.C. last February, he told the audience that people often ask him why a memorial is necessary for a conflict that only lasted about 40 days.

Horner, who commanded the U.S. air campaign of that war, said the first reason is to commemorate those who died in the Gulf War. Then he pointed behind him, towards the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, where the names of over 58,000 Americans who died in Vietnam are etched in granite.

"These two monuments are inexorably linked together," Horner said. "Because we had in Desert Storm a president and a secretary of defense who did the smartest thing in the world: they gave the military a mission which could be accomplished by military force."

The Desert Storm Memorial "is a place every military person that's going to war should visit, and they learn to stand up when they have to, to avoid the stupidness that led to that disaster" in Vietnam, he added.

Now, 29 years after the operation that kicked Saddam Hussein's Iraqi army out of Kuwait began, the U.S. is stuck in multiple wars that Horner says resemble the one he and his fellow commanders tried to avoid while designing Desert Storm.

Horner shared his perspective on what went right in the Gulf War, and what's gone wrong since then, in an interview last week with Task & Purpose.

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In this March 12, 2016, file photo, Marines of the U.S., left, and South Korea, wearing blue headbands on their helmets, take positions after landing on a beach during the joint military combined amphibious exercise, called Ssangyong, part of the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle military exercises, in Pohang, South Korea. (Associated Press/Yonhap/Kim Jun-bum)

Editor's Note: This article by Richard Sisk originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

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