Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

U.S. soldiers near Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, a few months after President Obama formally declared the war in Afghanistan over. (Photo: U.S. Department of Defense/cc)

Obama Makes It Official: Either Trump or Clinton Gets to Keep Longest War in US History Going

Rep. Barbara Lee calls announcement that 8,400 troops will remain in Afghanistan a sign "that our nation's longest war is far from over."

Andrea Germanos

This story may be updated.

Confirming that either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will inherit the longest war in U.S. history, President Barack Obama announced Wednesday that over 8,000 troops will stay in Afghanistan after he leaves the White House.

The figure is thousands more than the 5,500 soldiers he said in October 2015 would remain in the country.

The announcement comes roughly 18 months after the U.S. and NATO formally ended—in name—the war in December 2014, and Obama acknowledged the 15 years of continued war, saying, "few Americans imagined we'd be there—in any capacity—this long."

"Instead of going down to 5,500 troops by the end of this year, the United States will maintain approximately 8,400 troops in Afghanistan into next year, through the end of my administration," Obama said.

He defended the number by saying "the Taliban remains a threat" and has "gained ground in some cases." The level of troops "will allow us to continue to provide tailored support to help Afghan forces continue to improve," he said.

The announcement, he added, "best positions my successor to make future decisions about our presence in Afghanistan," and "ensures that my successor has a solid foundation for continued progress in Afghanistan as well as the flexibility to address the threat of terrorism as it evolves."

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) called the announcement "a step in the wrong direction" and a sign "that our nation's longest war is far from over."

She criticized the "war's $741 billion price tag," adding in her statement, "In 2001, I opposed the authorization for this war because it allowed any President to wage endless war without the Congressional oversight mandated by the Constitution. I will continue to pursue every legislative opportunity to re-establish Congress’s constitutionally-required oversight of war."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Senate Dems Propose Talking Filibuster for Voting Rights

"If Senate Democrats can find the political courage this moment requires, they have the tools right now to pass voting rights legislation and save our democracy."

Jessica Corbett ·


94% of AZ Progressives Support Primary Challenge if Sinema Kills Voting Rights

"Sinema can betray Arizonans, but there aren't enough pharma lobbyists in the world to keep her in office if she does."

Brett Wilkins ·


Dems Urged to Hold Senate Floor for 'As Long As It Takes'

"Call your senators now and tell them to hold the floor, keep the debate going, and fix or ditch the filibuster to pass democracy reform," says Indivisible.

Jessica Corbett ·


Exxon Net-Zero Plan Called Greenwashing From 'Climate Liar'

"Exxon and Big Oil's whole strategy is to pretend that fossil fuels can be part of the solution so that they can delay the adoption of renewables another year and keep profiting from oil and gas."

Julia Conley ·


Rising US Renewables Expected to Spur Decline in Fracked Gas

"Renewable energy is starting to do to natural gas what natural gas did to coal."

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo