The U.S. has been at war in Afghanistan against the Taliban — the Islamic fundamentalist political movement responsible for sheltering Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden — since October 2001 following the September 11th terrorist attacks.
Currently, there is a plan to drawdown the number of U.S. forces remaining in Afghanistan from 18,000 to 9,800 troops by the end of 2014, with the American military’s mission in Afghanistan scheduled to end by 2017. Combat operations by U.S. troops will end in 2014, and the number of troops remaining is scheduled to drop from 9,800 in 2015 to about half that in 2016. At least 2,201 U.S. military personnel have been killed in Afghanistan, and nearly 20,000 have been wounded.
The Afghanistan drawdown has been compared to the end of the military campaign in Iraq, where no troops remained after combat operations ended, which helped lead to the rise of ISIS. Former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director Leon Panetta cited the failure to secure a status of forces agreement as a critical factor in the emergence of ISIS, threatening the Iraqi government’s stability.
Questions about the scope of the AUMF directed at the Taliban and Al Qaeda have arisen after the Bush and Obama administrations both used the law to justify actions against affiliated terrorists around the world, including ISIS. As a result, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced a declaration of war against ISIS, and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) has drafted an AUMF targeting ISIS.
Sponsoring Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) Press Release
USA Today (Context)