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10/16/15

Middle East: US failure in Iraq looms over Afghanistan

In late May 2014, President Barack Obama laid out his timetable for withdrawal. Nearly all American troops were scheduled to pull out of Afghanistan by the time he left the White House at the end of 2016. Fewer than 1,000 US service members would remain in the country to staff a security liaison office in Kabul.

Two weeks after Obama's announcement, Iraq nearly collapsed. The country's security forces evaporated in the face of advancing "Islamic State" (IS) militants. Washington intervened with airstrikes later that summer, halting the militants push toward Baghdad. The White House is now engaged in an open-ended air campaign in Iraq and Syria without any additional congressional authorization.

"It's generally acknowledged that it was a mistake to have invaded Iraq [in 2003]," James Dobbins, who served as the United States Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, told DW.

"But having invaded Iraq, having created a mess, having created the conditions that led to regional imbalance and increased radicalization, it was a mistake to have just walked away from it," Dobbins said. "Wars aren't over because you say they're over."

Read more: US failure in Iraq looms over Afghanistan | Middle East | DW.COM | 16.10.2015

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