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Kimberly and Frederick W. Kagan’s recent commentary in The Washington Post, arguing for a force of 30,000 or more Americans in Afghanistan after 2014, is fundamentally wrong. Although their goals are sound — preventing terrorist attacks from the region on the United States — the writers’ logic and conclusions about the resources required are flawed. It is possible to protect U.S. interests across that region after 2014 with a force in Afghanistan of 10,000 or fewer American troops.

The U.S. has two vital interests in that part of the world: preventing terrorist attacks on this country and its allies, and preventing nuclear weapons or materials from falling into the hands of terrorists. Protecting these interests after 2014 will require the U.S. to be able to launch precision military strikes from this region. But it will not require tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.

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