President Obama Halts U.S. Troop Withdrawal in Afghanistan
O’Neill: “It’s Not a Lot, but at Least They’re Not Abandoning the Afghans.”
His original plan: withdraw all but 1,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Now, President Obama has shifted his position, ordering 5,500 troops to remain. Is there much to make of this?
Appearing on FOX News with anchor Neil Cavuto, former U.S. Navy SEAL and military strategy contributor, Rob O’Neill offers expert insight.
Cavuto: “Good to see you. What do you make of this? Is this a good thing, bad thing?”
O’Neill: “It’s kind of both. Good thing that the administration is willing to admit that pulling the rug out and just abandoning Afghanistan…something would happen like it did in Iraq. Right now they’re just trying to defend four of the cities: Jalalabad, Kandahar, the capital of Kabul, and then Bagram Airfield. They’re going to try to beef those up a little bit. Troop presence there will be to advise and assist and train, and some counterterror teams in case al Qaeda shows up or some ISIS targets that they want to hit in and around there. Not a lot, but at least they’re not abandoning the Afghans when they really need them.”
Cavuto: “5,500 guys are going to make that big a difference?”
O’Neill: “Well, we’re starting to pull out. We pulled out of the Pech River Valley, which is right near the Korengal Valley. I fought in there before…that's where we actually rescued of Marcus Luttrell, the lone survivor. Down south to Asadabad, I fought there as well, I was awarded my first Silver Star near there. We took that compound out and we’re slowly going down to Jalalabad, which they’re going to hold. That would be fine up in the valleys. It’s going back to the way, anyway, the way it’s been for 10,000 years.
Cavuto: “But it's with different characters, right?”
O’Neill: Well no, the tribes that are in there are pretty much going to stay in there. It doesn't really matter to them, they go by the same tribal laws.”
Cavuto: “But, I guess, the threats, I mean, are a little different?”
O’Neill: “The threats are a little different. In the smaller cities, up in the mountains, too, we’ve got ISIS moving in. Basically right now are Taliban, but they’ve been paid by ISIS a good sum of money for that part of the world to be more brutal to fly the black flag. They are so brutal, to the point right now, there are Taliban commanders actually surrendering to the Afghan government because they don’t want to deal with ISIS.”
Cavuto: “Are you kidding me? So Taliban is afraid of ISIS?”
O’Neill: “Well, these are former Taliban guys. Because they got paid so well by ISIS, they’re following that brutal, brutal Sharia law that ISIS follows. That was where that video where they put those guys on their knees and and blew them all up. That was Afghanistan, that's not Syria. That's Afghan ISIS not Arabs.”
Cavuto: “It gets back to my original question: 4,500 additional men and women doesn’t seem to change things, even if they are helping to train. The history on training…”
O’Neill: “There are some quality Afghan soldiers. I fought with them before. Some are not so good. A lot of the cultures that we train don’t have an interest in training. They have an interest in inshallah, God willing. So they might train, they might not. And they might not fight if God doesn’t want them to. They don’t really have that killer instinct to defend their country. Now, the other side of that…the fanatical Muslims that we fight…they’re fighting for God, fighting to be martyrs, that’s why they’re so hardcore. That’s why they beat the crap out of the guys that we train.”