3,474. 3/20/2002

After the collapse of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, “Establishing a security regime in the vacuum was of paramount importance. But in March 2002, Vice President [Dick] Cheney and Defense Secretary [Donald] Rumsfeld were already working on the plan to invade Iraq. Cheney publicly rejected the idea of expanding the international peacekeeping force beyond Kabul. America would keep the international force at only the existing level of around five thousand troops. And Cheney made clear [in a Washington Post article on March 20, 2002] that ‘we are not talking about expanding it to other regions.’ ”

 – Deepak Tripathi, Overcoming the Bush Legacy in Iraq and Afghanistan, Pages 57-58

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