U.S. forces should acquire material and hire manpower support: Opposing view


The war in Afghanistan is the longest in U.S. history. Despite the loss of more than 2,400 American livesand costs of $1 trillion, the United States is losing. Even Defense Secretary James Mattis confirms that coalition forces “are not winning.”

President Trump inherited the quagmire and has the complex task of sorting it out and bringing our troops home.

The option to simply abandon Afghanistan is enticing but in the long run would be a foreign policy disaster. The Kabul government would collapse. Afghanistan would be a rallying cry for global jihadists.

The present conventional strategy has proved ineffective. Repeating the prior troop surge also has appeal. The surge reduced Taliban influence, but the Taliban returned as troops withdrew. Furthermore, it is simply too expensive to maintain a long-term, large-scale military presence. Luckily, there is a another option.

The president can “restructure” the war, similar to a bankruptcy reorganization. By aligning U.S. efforts under a presidential envoy, all strategic decisions regarding humanitarian aid, military support and intelligence become laser-focused on creating a stable, self-supporting Afghanistan. Stability would give our troops an exit ramp. The envoy’s focus would be to support Afghan security forces from within, providing professional military leadership, reliable air support and business administration assistance. Those resources would be procured in precisely the way U.S. forces acquire material and manpower support. They hire it.

OUR VIEW:President Trump, U.S. troops need Afghanistan War strategy

This has already proved effective in Afghanistan. U.S. special operations teams have created effective commando battalions by embedding and working with them. The same can be done on a larger scale, but the U.S. Army lacks enough special forces to do this and maintain mission readiness. Outside assistance is required.

This approach would cost less than 20% of the $48 billion being spent in Afghanistan this year. Trump was hired to remake our government. There is no greater need for a restructuring than in Afghanistan.

Erik Prince is a former Navy SEAL officer and founder of Blackwater USA. He is chairman of the Frontier Services Group, a logistics company focused on Africa and South Asia.