He noted the recent bombing in the diplomatic quarter of the capital city, Kabul, that killed 90 people and injured 460. The Taliban denied responsibility, and some regional experts believe the Haqqani guerilla insurgency network may be to blame.
Hugo Llordens, a US diplomat in Kabul, said the "horrific and shameful attack demonstrates these terrorists’ complete disregard for human life and their nihilistic opposition to the dream of a peaceful future for Afghanistan."
Buchanan says the bombers were trying to show the Afghan people that even the seat of the national government isn’t safe. Their message to the US? "After investing hundreds of billions and 2,000 US lives in the 15 years since 9/11, we are further from victory than we have ever been."
Despite the additional troops and resources allocated to Afghanistan by former President Barack Obama, who then drew down troop numbers drastically with the intention of withdrawing almost completely before he left office, the Taliban controls more territory in the country now then when they were forced out of power in 2001, Buchanan wrote.
Current US President Donald Trump has not made his Afghanistan policy clear yet, but his advisers and military officials are calling for a surge of several thousand US troops to the country. This would "at best help the Afghan security forces sustain the present stalemate," Buchanan says.
Trump finds himself in a difficult position, having inherited the ill-fated conflict. The US public is unlikely to support another surge, though withdrawal would send shockwaves through the war-torn country.
There has been pushback from Congress regarding the proposed surge as well, as US House of Representatives Whip Steny Hoyer writing in an early May press release that "The President must articulate to Congress and the public what he intends to achieve by sending more of our young men and women into danger, how he will ensure success in meeting those goals, and how he intends to pay for a military escalation."
Dick Durbin, the second-highest ranking Democrat in Congress, echoed that sentiment. "We spent billions of dollars. We’ve lost thousands of American lives. We’ve been engaged in this war for over 15 years. And we are still struggling to determine how it can end favorably for the best interest of the United States and the Afghan people," he said, according to the Hill.
During an appearance on MSNBC, Durbin said that a surge of US troops in Afghanistan could lead to a "permanent occupation."