Inside Story

Why is Obama changing his mind on Afghanistan?

US troops will remain in Afghanistan, despite a previous plan to bring them all back home.

There have been mixed reactions to the latest decision by US President Barack Obama on Afghanistan. On Thursday, he broke a campaign promise to pull out all US forces from the war-torn country before he leaves office.

Now, the remaining troops in Afghanistan will remain there well after he leaves the White House. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani reportedly asked Obama to keep the troops in his country when they met in Washington earlier this year.

The brief seizure of the strategic town of Kunduz by the Taliban last month is said to be another reason why Obama changed his mind. The Afghan army is still seen as being incapable of facing the armed group alone.

But are the remaining US troops enough to help the Afghan army? And has Obama’s Afghanistan policy failed?

Presenter: Rob Matheson


Sharif Hassan, journalist for the Washington Post.

Bette Dam, author of A Man and A Motorcycle: How Hamid Karzai Came to Power.

David Sedney, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia.