With the Taliban’s takeover, many Afghans have expressed deep feelings of betrayal by the United States for leaving Afghanistan behind in a dangerous and uncertain new phase. Americans, meanwhile, seem to agree that plenty of people share responsibility for the tragic end to 20 years of U.S. military presence. President Joe Biden has faced criticism from both sides of the aisle for mishandling the U.S. withdrawal, while the president himself has pointed to failures by Afghanistan’s leaders and his predecessor, Donald Trump.
What could the U.S. have done differently, and what can it still do to minimize the damage? To understand how we got here and what might be next, POLITICO reached out to eight people who worked on Afghanistan for the U.S. government during the Bush, Obama and Trump presidencies. We asked them what they expect to happen in the coming weeks and months, whether the United States can still help Afghanistan, and what they wish they could change
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