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99 Foreign Aff. 77 (2020)
How the Good War Went Bad: America's Slow-Motion Failure in Afghanistan

handle is hein.journals/fora99 and id is 287 raw text is: 

How the Good War

Went Bad

America's Slow-Motion Failure
in  Afghanistan

Carter Malkasian

The United States has been fighting   a war in Afghanistan for over

       18 years. More than 2,300 U.S. military personnel have lost their
       lives there; more than 20,000 others have been wounded. At least
half a million Afghans-government forces, Taliban fighters, and civil-
ians-have been killed or wounded. Washington has spent close to $1 tril-
lion on the war. Although the al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is dead
and no major attack on the U.S. homeland has been carried out by a ter-
rorist group based in Afghanistan since 9/11, the United States has been
unable to end the violence or hand off the war to the Afghan authorities,
and the Afghan government cannot survive without U.S. military backing.
   At the end of 2019, The Washington Post published a series titled
The Afghanistan Papers, a collection of U.S. government documents
that included notes of interviews conducted by the special inspector
general for Afghanistan reconstruction. In those interviews, numer-
ous U.S. officials conceded that they had long seen the war as unwin-
nable. Polls have found that a majority of Americans now view the war
as a failure. Every U.S. president since 2001 has sought to reach a
point in Afghanistan when the violence would be sufficiently low or
the Afghan government strong enough to allow U.S. military forces to
withdraw  without significantly increasing the risk of a resurgent ter-
rorist threat. That day has not come. In that sense, whatever the future
brings, for 18 years the United States has been unable to prevail.

CARTER MALKASIAN is the author of War Comes to Garmser: Thirty Years of Conflict on
the Afghan Frontier. From 2015 to 2019, he was Senior Adviser to U.S. General Joseph
Dunford, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

March/April 2020  77

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