America’s war in Afghanistan is ending in crushing defeat

Sienna Bartolomei

America’s war in Afghanistan is ending in crushing defeat
The consequences of the conflict for Afghans, already catastrophic, are likely to get worse

“Iwant totalk about happy things, man!” protested President Joe Biden in early July, when reporters asked him about the imminent withdrawal of the last American forces from Afghanistan, expected some time in the next few weeks. No wonder he wants to change the subject: America has been fighting in Afghanistan for 20 years. It has spent more than $2trn on the war. It has lost thousands of its own troops and seen the death of tens of thousands of Afghans—soldiers and civilians alike. Now America is calling an end to the whole sorry adventure, with almost nothing to show for it.

True, al-Qaeda, which sparked the war by planning the 9/11 attacks from Afghanistan, is no longer much of a force in the country, although…

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