Returning home for good? Not quite.
Although the United States officially ended its war in Iraq with the last remaining troops in the country sent home this past Sunday, it appears as though thousands of recently returned troops will only enjoy a short lived stay at home.
U.S. military officials have announced that they will be ordering thousands of U.S. service members to go back into the trenches of war in Afghanistan. The move will serve as a bid to build up Afghan security forces prior to the planned 2014 withdrawal from the country.
The new announcement came via the Fourth Brigade Combat Team, First Armored Division Facebook page and officials have verified that the announcement is indeed true.
“We are glad we have brought all soldiers back home in time for Christmas to spend time with loved ones. We do have to put information out about an upcoming mission, though,” a posting read on the Fourth Brigade Combat Team Facebook page.
The U.S. has been in embroiled in a decade long war in the south Asian “graveyard of empires.”
Although many Afghans will be happy to see foreign troops leave their country in 2014, others worry that without the presence of foreign troops, Afghan security forces will be undermined and unable to maintain the peace. Furthermore, many worry that insurgency forces will gain significant power, risking the few shaky gains that Afghan citizens have acquired since the ousting of the Taliban.
Some military officials and political analysts have spoken out against the plan to withdraw troops from Afghanistan by 2014, arguing that the timing is too soon. They criticize that Afghan security forces continue to struggle to gain a strong foothold over their insurgency counterparts, particularly in the volatile eastern region of the country.
Officials have responded that 2014 is not a “hard” deadline for a withdrawal of forces, and U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan C. Crocker noted that the U.S. would not be opposed to keeping troops on the ground if the Afghan government requested them.