WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Six US servicemen were killed in Afghanistan last week in a suicide attack near the US Armed Forces Bagram Air Base, intensifying demands among critics for a complete US military drawdown.
University of Nebraska at Omaha Director of Afghan Studies Thomas Gouttierre told Sputnik that the terrorist incidents in Paris, San Bernardino and Bagram are all part of an international holy war that will require a long-term US commitment in places like Afghanistan.
"This is a global war. All of these events are in one way or another interrelated… with the elements that are subscribing to what I call the al-Qaeda narrative. Al-Qaeda itself, or the Taliban or ISIS [Daesh]," Gouttierre said when asked if the US military should exit Afghanistan. "It is going to take a long time and we need to understand that."
The Bagram attack represents the type of combat the US government and public will have to get used to and learn to stomach in this global war, Gouttierre explained, because the fight against jihadists will not consist of major battles like Waterloo.
"We tend to want to set up big bases, no matter where we go, as we have in Afghanistan," he said. "It was a mistake. Our footprint became too large there and our effectiveness declined in the process."
Gouttierre suggested the US military should instead reevaluate strategies in the wake of the Bagram attack and enhance intelligence and quick-strike capabilities.
Brookings Institution scholar Michael O'Hanlon told Sputnik that it would be irrational for the United States to withdraw from Afghanistan in light of the Bagram attack because leaving will only boost the insurgency.
"I don’t see logic in the argument to leave, unless you are looking to give the Taliban a nice New Year’s present," O’Hanlon quipped.
Afghanistan remains in political and social turmoil as the Taliban and other extremist organizations such as the Islamic State — also known as Daesh and outlawed in Russia — take advantage of instability in the country.