Why Is the U.S. Military in Afghanistan?


Quick Answer

The U.S. military was originally deployed to Afghanistan following the September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. They were deployed because a fundamentalist group known as the Taliban ruled Afghanistan at the time and offered aid and shelter to the terrorists who planned the attacks.

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Full Answer

As of December 2014, U.S. forces have remained in Afghanistan to help the Afghan government maintain security. American forces have been required to remain in country even after removing the Taliban from power due to its volatile nature and the violent nature of the country. If American troops were to be removed, it is believed that the Taliban or a similar group could return to power.

American troops also remain in Afghanistan in order to secure a bargaining position for the United States. The U.S. ambassador and senior military commander keep close ties with the Afghan government, so when internal questions arise and decisions about relations with the outside world are made, Americans have a seat at the negotiating table because there are still troops in the country.

Finally, the presence of troops in Afghanistan is a signal to the Afghan government, the American people and the Taliban. The United States is invested in Afghanistan for the long term.

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