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All In Again In Afghanistan?47:10
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After a bloody Taliban attack on a military base, Defense Secretary Mattis is in Afghanistan. How long and deeply should the U.S. stay involved?

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis, right, and U.S. Army General John Nicholson, left, commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan, arrive to meet with an Afghan defense delegation at Resolute Support headquarters, in Kabul Afghanistan, Monday, April 24, 2017. Mattis arrived unannounced in Afghanistan to assess America's longest war as the Trump administration weighs sending more U.S. troops. (Jonathan Ernst/AP)
U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis, right, and U.S. Army General John Nicholson, left, commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan, arrive to meet with an Afghan defense delegation at Resolute Support headquarters, in Kabul Afghanistan, Monday, April 24, 2017. Mattis arrived unannounced in Afghanistan to assess America's longest war as the Trump administration weighs sending more U.S. troops. (Jonathan Ernst/AP)

The war in Afghanistan has dragged on now for almost 16 years. America’s longest war. It’s like wallpaper sometimes. Visible and ignored. Lately it’s hard to ignore. The mother of all bombs dropped and headlined everywhere. An astonishing Taliban slaughter of Afghan forces last week. Gen. Mattis in country. Russia accused of arming the Taliban. 40 percent of the country in Taliban hands. US generals asking for thousands more troops. This hour On Point: What to do with Afghanistan. -- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Joshua Smith, Afghanistan correspondent for Reuters. (@joshjonsmith)

Nancy Youssef, National security reporter for Buzzfeed News. (@nancyayoussef)

Max Boot, senior fellow in national security studies at the Council of Foreign Relations. Author of "Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present." (@MaxBoot)

Aaron B. O'Connell, former director of defense policy and strategy on the National Security Council for the Obama administration. Editor of "Our Latest Longest War: Losing Hearts and Minds in Afghanistan." Veteran of the Afghanistan War. (@OConnellAaronB)

From Tom's Reading List

New York Times: 'A Shortage of Coffins' After Taliban Slaughter Unarmed Soldiers -- "For the next five hours, the militants went on a rampage, killing at least 140 soldiers and officers in what is emerging as the single deadliest known attack on an Afghan military base in the country’s 16-year war. Some assailants blew themselves up among the soldiers fleeing for their lives, according to survivors, witnesses and officials."

NPR: Historian Says The U.S. Is 'Losing Hearts And Minds In Afghanistan' -- "There is a real and important counterterrorism mission in Afghanistan. So we have almost 9,000 troops in Afghanistan; 2,000 of them are there doing counterterrorism missions. That's appropriate and should stay. The real question is, what are the other 7,000 doing? If they are there for training the Afghan army and police and that Afghan army and police are showing no real signs of getting better, we probably have to re-evaluate how we engage with the Afghan government."

TIME: U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis Just Made an Unannounced Trip to Afghanistan --"Mattis was visiting just days after a bloody Taliban attack that killed more than 100 Afghans on a base in the country's north. The Taliban also controls key parts of Helmand province in the south. Officials say nearly a dozen of the attackers wore army uniforms and rode in military vehicles, raising concerns of help from inside the compound."

This program aired on April 25, 2017.

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