Why We Failed in Afghanistan

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U.S. Army 82nd Airborne troops patrol Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 17, 2021. (U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Taylor Crul/Handout via Reuters)

Following the ignominious end to a 20-year effort, American foreign-policy elites must reassess their ambitions and assumptions.


e were officials in the Department of Justice two decades ago when al-Qaeda attacked us, destroying the World Trade Center in New York and one-fifth of the Pentagon and killing nearly 3,000 civilians, including all those on board four hijacked airliners. We advised President George W. Bush’s administration as it launched its lightning attack to rout the Taliban from power in Afghanistan, where it had provided safe haven to Osama bin Laden and his terrorist gang. We are aghast at the Biden administration’s disastrous flight from Afghanistan almost two decades to the day since the 9/11 attacks.

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