On September 18th, Donald Trump announced the continuation of the longest war in American history. Around 2,400 American soldiers have lost their lives in the fight to topple the Taliban and obliterate ISIS. After persisting through three administrations over the span of 16 years, the war in Afghanistan rightfully shows no signs of stopping. Bringing the war to a premature close now would be detrimental to United States interests.

In 2011, Barack Obama ended America’s second longest war in its history  by pulling all remaining American troops from Iraq in accordance with legislation passed under the Bush Administration. On October 21st of that year, Obama announced that all U.S. soldiers would be home for the winter holidays with “their heads held high, proud of their success.”

Though Iraq was temporarily stable, the nation’s democracy was weak and rapidly began to destabilize without U.S. support. Senator John McCain heavily criticized Obama’s decision, saying it “went against the advice of [the] U.S. military commander, [and] could embolden Iran,” while it would likely “be met with alarm by Afghan President Hamid Karzai.” Even President Bush originally vetoed the bill that set a deadline for the withdrawal of troops, citing among other concerns that “setting a deadline…would encourage killers across the broader Middle East.”

As critics feared, the Iraqi insurgency escalated. Radical, riotous Sunni groups grew more prominent as religious protests became increasingly violent. The world witnessed the rise of ISIS, which almost doubled the number of deaths by terrorism.

Stopping the war in Afghanistan would have a similar effect. Although President Trump has said numerous times on Twitter that the war is a waste of valuable lives, money, and resources, after meeting with his War Cabinet, the president saw the importance of learning from the previous administration’s mistakes. He complied with his war cabinet’s advice, the majority of which are veterans of the war in Afghanistan. The cabinet convinced Mr. Trump that “a hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum for terrorists, including ISIS and Al Qaeda.” Thus, in his official address, Trump advocated for deploying 3,000 more soldiers to continue the existing mission in Afghanistan.

Withdrawing American soldiers to reunite families is a priority, but the developments in Iraq showed that this could cause more strife and suffering than peace. As President Trump argued, discontinuing the war “would dishonor the U.S. troops who died in Afghanistan” by failing to see through the cause they sacrificed their lives for.

The U.S. is under the scrutiny of allies and enemies alike to fight for justice or surrender at the hands of terrorism. Now more than ever the U.S. must show a united front.