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The next grueling chapter in Afghanistan has just begun

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Gloomy Outlook in Afghanistan

The American withdrawal from Afghanistan is coming in the context of an incomplete reconstruction effort and Taliban gains. The news comes as foreign policy crises are erupting across the world.

According to a report by National Review Online, John F. Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, wrote in his report, “Despite the drawdown of U.S. and Coalition forces [from Afghanistan], our mission there is far from over. With almost $18 billion appropriated but not yet spent in the pipeline, and probably another $6 to $10 billion promised annually for years to come, Afghanistan reconstruction should still be relevant to every U.S. taxpayer and policy maker.”

Sopko noted that poppy production is up to about 15% of Afghanistan’s GDP, and that many capability gaps exist between Afghan and American forces. “I’m not confident that if we were to leave at the end of 2014, that those forces would be sustainable. There are some significant capability gaps that have to be addressed in order for the Afghans to be able to do things that we have heretofore been doing for them,” the report quotes Marine General Joseph F. Dunford, the commander of the International Security Assistance Force, as saying.

The gloomy report from SIGAR comes as Breitbart News published reports of Taliban gains that have reached an extent not seen since prior to the start of Operation Enduring Freedom. The Taliban gains, largely unreported by the mainstream media, include areas near the capital of Kabul.

A poll by Rasmussen Reports showed that belief that the United States was winning the War on Terror had dropped to 27%. It was the lowest figure ever recorded in the poll’s history.