Tags: Afghanistan | Exclusive Interviews | MidPoint | mission | not | over

Special Forces Veteran: Afghanistan Mission Far From Over

By    |   Tuesday, 30 Dec 2014 09:06 PM

The formal end of the U.S.-led combat mission in Afghanistan after 13 years does not mean an end to America's military presence in the birthplace of the 9/11 attacks or to the violence raging between the Taliban and a fledgling Afghan democracy, says a retired Delta Force soldier.

"As you see on the news, they rolled the flag out: they changed from Operation Enduring Freedom to Freedom Signal," retired Army Lt. Col. Brad Taylor told "MidPoint" guest host Ric Blackwell on Newsmax TV Tuesday.

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"But the truth of the matter is the guys … they didn't wake up this morning into a whole new world," said Taylor. "They're still doing exactly what they were doing. They've talked about the end of combat operations, which is true on the large scale, but we still – we will provide air support … We're still doing counter-terrorism missions. So it's not a huge night and day change. It wasn't like they flipped the light switch and everything in Afghanistan changed."

Taylor, author of the new novel, "No Fortunate Son," also discussed the rise of the Islamic State in in the wake of America's military draw-down in Iraq, and President Obama's decision to send air power and non-combat support troops back into the region.

"I'd say what's happening in Iraq right now is definitely not a morale booster," said Taylor, describing the mood among veterans and active-duty soldier alike. "I spent a lot of time over there and it's not something you want to see."

"The policy he's got right now, the only thing I have a problem with is the timeline and the fact that American troops are not actually on the ground controlling airstrikes and things like that," he said, adding that the situation in Iraq is so fluid, we risk having our actual and potential allies wiped out in internal warfare.

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But he said that foreign policy decisions are less of an issue for the rank and file than what's happening on the home front with the federal budget sequester cutting into military spending, and the Department of Veterans Affairs health care backlogs and mismanagement.

"What's more affecting morale right now is domestic policy," he said. "Sequestration. The guys can't train; they don't have bullets to shoot. The drawdown. Everybody's wondering are they going to get a pink slip. They're wondering if they're going to be in the Army next year. The VA stuff that's going on, that's affecting morale a lot more than foreign policy decisions."

On a recent New York Times article examining the U.S. policy of refusing to pay ransoms for American hostages, such as those who were held and killed by the Islamic State, Taylor sided with the government.

"Any time … you start exchanging ransoms, you get a lot more hostages," he said.

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The formal end of the U.S.-led combat mission in Afghanistan after 13 years does not mean an end to America's military presence in the birthplace of the 9/11 attacks or to the violence raging between the Taliban and a fledgling Afghan democracy, says a retired Delta Force soldier.
mission, not, over
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2014-06-30
Tuesday, 30 Dec 2014 09:06 PM
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