Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Policy

We Lost the War in Afghanistan. Get Over It.

| Sep. 11, 2019

After 18 years of war, thousands of lives lost, and hundreds of billions of dollars squandered, the United States accomplished precisely nothing.

Afghanistan has been back in the news lately, but most commentators are missing the big picture. In recent weeks there has been a raft of articles suggesting the United States and the Taliban were nearing a peace deal that would enable the United States to withdraw most, if not all, of its forces there. These rumors prompted immediate warnings from skeptics such as retired Gen. David Petraeus, who failed to win the war on his watch but wants his successors to keep trying, and assortedother hawks who want America's longest war to continue and still think victory is achievable.

Next up was U.S. President Donald Trump. Eager for another high-profile photo-op, the narcissist-in-chief came up with a scheme to invite Taliban leaders to Camp David and crown the peace deal there. According to some reports, Trump eventually got persuaded to drop this ill-conceived idea, but this latest sign of a White House in disarray may have contributed to the decision to fire National Security Advisor John Bolton earlier this week....

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation:

Walt, Stephen M."We Lost the War in Afghanistan. Get Over It." Foreign Policy, September 11, 2019.

The Author

Stephen Walt