It may be fair to argue that the last thing the nation needs at the start of an election year is yet another budget crisis and another decade of war. Yet this is the path the United States appears to be taking in Afghanistan. U.S. officials are talking about removing all American troops from Afghanistan and about massive cuts in military spending as part of the “transition” to Afghan control of combat and civil governance operations in 2014. Given the lead times involved in funding and implementing such massive changes within two to three years, Washington really has only a few months in which to decide whether we will take on the burden of funding the Afghan government through 2014 and beyond, and whether we will provide most of the funds, advisers and partners that Afghan forces will need until 2020 and beyond.
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