January 01, 2019

Time to Get Out of Afghanistan

By Robert D. Kaplan

The decision by President Trump to withdraw 7,000 of the roughly 14,000 American troops left in Afghanistan, possibly by summer, has raised new concerns about his impulsive behavior, especially given his nearly simultaneous decision to pull out all American forces from Syria against the advice of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. But the downsizing of the Afghan mission was probably inevitable. Indeed, it may soon be time for the United States to get out of the country altogether.

No other country in the world symbolizes the decline of the American empire as much as Afghanistan. There is virtually no possibility of a military victory over the Taliban and little chance of leaving behind a self-sustaining democracy — facts that Washington’s policy community has mostly been unable to accept.

While many American troops stay behind steel-reinforced concrete walls to protect themselves from the very population they are supposed to help, it is striking how little discussion Afghanistan has generated in government and media circles in Washington. When it comes to Afghanistan, Washington has been a city hiding behind its own walls of shame and frustration.

Read the full article in The New York Times.

  • Commentary
    • POLITICO Magazine
    • May 12, 2020
    What Afghanistan Can Teach Us About Fighting Coronavirus

    As worried Americans look for answers in the midst of a global pandemic, it is no surprise that many have turned to the symbols and language of war. Public officials from Gove...

    By Pat A. Basu & Dr. Jason Dempsey

  • Podcast
    • April 24, 2020
    Walk Away from the Taliban, Not Afghanistan

    General David H. Petraeus (US Army, Retired) and Vance Serchuk speak with ISW Founder and President Dr. Kimberly Kagan on the dangers of the U.S. deal with the Taliban. Liste...

    By David H. Petraeus & Vance Serchuk

  • Commentary
    • Foreign Affairs
    • April 1, 2020
    Can America Trust the Taliban to Prevent Another 9/11?

    For nearly 20 years, the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan has been sustained by a single, vital national interest: the clear and present danger of another September 11–like at...

    By David H. Petraeus & Vance Serchuk

  • Commentary
    • Austin American-Statesman
    • March 10, 2020
    The Afghan peace deal and its eerie parallels with Vietnam

    Last month marked a potential turning point in America’s 19-year war in Afghanistan. In signing a landmark peace agreement, the United States and the Taliban paved the way for...

    By Richard Fontaine

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia