On August 15, 2021, the Taliban took over Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul. The Afghan president fled the country. Almost all of Afghanistan is now under Taliban control. It marks the end of an era: America’s longest war is now over, and America lost. It happened fast, stunning the world and leaving many in the country racing to find an exit. But even among those surprised by the way the end played out, many knew the war was destined to end badly. According to some experts, the seeds of disaster were planted back at the war’s very beginning.
Soon after the American war in Afghanistan began in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the US government struggled to answer exactly why the military was there. In the very beginning, the goal was relatively clear: to capture the perpetrator of the attacks, Osama bin Laden. But almost immediately, the goals became murkier and more complicated.
In this video, investigative reporter Azmat Khan and former US ambassador to Afghanistan Michael McKinley explain what the US military was actually doing in Afghanistan, what it got wrong, and why America’s long intervention there is considered a failure.
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