The U.S. tried to keep a residual force in Iraq as combat missions there came to an end, but Washington and Baghdad were unable to finalize a security agreement. In the vacuum left by the American military, Iraq has been battered by resurgent waves of violence.
The president is seeking to avoid a similar scenario in Afghanistan, for both security and political purposes. While Obama long opposed the Iraq war, he oversaw a surge of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, giving him greater responsibility for the mission’s success or failure.
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