Losing a war in Afghanistan

More than a year after President Trump announced his Afghanistan policy, the Taliban is closer to victory than we are. The Taliban contests or controls 61% of Afghan districts. More than 2,200 Americans have been killed in the long conflict. The United States has spent more than $840 billion. This month the Taliban has claimed credit for a major attack at a high level meeting in Kandahar that killed General Raziq, arguably the most powerful man in Southern Afghanistan.

On Nov. 15, Foundation for Defense of Democracies hosted a panel consisting of Jessica Donati, reporter at The Wall Street Journal, and Thomas Joscelyn and Bill Roggio, FDD senior fellows and editors of FDD’s Long War Journal, to discuss Afghanistan. The panel was moderated by FDD founder and president Clifford D. May. You can watch the video below:

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  • KW Greenwood says:

    We all know the political will to “win” this war in the civilized west is no where to be found. It would require dominating (not controlling) the whole Afghan region to include Pakistan and Tajikistan. This means routing out the Taliban and the Haqqanis and killing them no matter where they live and trying to bring some form of secular and constitutional government to Kabul whom apparently doesn’t want one.

    When the west decides to do something; probably after another western city is attacked and civilians killed, something may be done. I haven’t even mentioned Iran yet. Nor the Chinese desire to get to Afghans mineral wealth. The Afghans under the control of the Taliban and Haqqani’s will continue to suffer in silence while the rest of the world turns a deaf ear. Good luck with that hands off approach.

  • Jeff Goodson says:

    Jeff Goodson here. I was the Director of Development at ISAF HQ from September 2010-January 2012 under COMISAFs Petraeus and Allen. Petraeus may not be perfect, but he has it right vis-a-vis where we should be going in Afghanistan:


    I argued the same thing over a year ago when the new Trump strategy came out.

    Jeff Goodson
    U.S. Foreign Service (ret.)

  • John wayne says:

    We should bomb taliban like Vietnam.
    Just keep Kabul and major bases, let them keep the useless land.
    Don’t leave Afghanistan.

  • Taher says:

    This is quite obvious that Afghan people want peace, but how can they even feel the peace when the stakeholders, major and regional powers are seeking their own interests, using Afghanistan as a platform.
    we are also faced with radical and extremism thoughts which greatly contribute to the war in Afghanistan.

  • blacksmith11 says:


    The war has bankrupted the US. Given anthropogenic climate change is at the point of no return, this war is moot. 5-10 years will see systemic collapses of most major nations, even the US from Climate Change. We can stretch it out 30 years, but that is wildly optimistic given climate-change denialism by the Trump Administration and our failure to invest the 6 trillion we blew on these wars, into the US Infrastructure.

    9/11 should have been handled by a one off airstrike against al-Qaeda Camps and intensified efforts to take up the Taliban on their offer to turn Osama over. By jumping into Afghanistan and compounding it with Iraq, we opened the flood gates of hell and cause a brush fire to become a forest fire that is uncontainable.

    Sometimes, a single bullet in the night is the way to go.

    Now the genie is loose and the real threats to our national survival went unaddressed. These real threats are:

    Climate Change

    Failing Infrastructure

    Outsourcing of industry destroying the Middle Class Tax Base and radicalizing the victims

    An opiod epidemic amongst millenials crushed by student loan debt for jobs that no longer exist and no way to discharge them and start fresh

    Uncontrolled illegal migration

    These are real existential threats that had to be dealt with in 2001. The War on Terror allowed those threats to grow and now its too late. Climate Change alone will cause the Coasts to flee and we simply can’t survive that mass migration because we didn’t invest in the infrastructure and worked to mitigate climate change.

    The piper is coming to collect and we have nothing.

    The successor states in 60 years will look back at us and wonder what the hell we were thinking and how we could have been so stupid to drop the ball on Climate Change.

  • Guest says:

    The clear sense is that the US has not taken ownership of Afghanistan. Countries such as Germany and Japan were taken over after much more strenuous efforts. The US fails to inspire confidence among the people of Afghanistan because they are seen as visitors with questionable long-term commitment. If the tone were to change, and the US made a stronger commitment to get the people of Afghanistan back on their feet, the Taliban movement would melt away very quickly. The Afghan national government’s tone has to shift from one of helplessness in the face of the foreign-sponsored Taliban offensive to one of belligerence and decisiveness ie get them to attack Pakistan. It will take at least a generation before a group of Afghans can come up who are sufficiently trained and capable of maintaining their freedom. An American withdrawal at this time would be the most irresponsible thing to do.

  • Verneoz says:

    At Tora Bora the US had Al Qaeda & the Taliban on the ropes. The ground commander requested a Ranger force be dropped on the opposite side of the mountains as a blocking force to pin and destroy the enemy. Request denied. Then the commander requested to drop Gator mines in the same area to block escape routes. Request denied. Bin Laden, Al Qaeda leaders, and Taliban forces successfully escaped into Pakistan. This was indicative of the US mindset. The failure to bring overwhelming firepower onto the enemy when he was at his weakest enabled the enemy come back and fight another day. When politics, risk aversion, and career enhancement come before winning the war, you get what we have today. Another lost war.

  • Ken says:

    This discussion reflected FDD articles. It didn’t paint a good or pleasant picture, but maybe a realistic one. Particularly troubling was the talk of “anti-American” sentiment. I would like to have heard more about State’s and Pentagon’s unwillingness to punish bad factions in Pakistan. Also there was a mention of the negative impact of our society in the U.S., that is, our failing as a society. In the past America was confident, extroverted, a little arrogant maybe, but now it is apologetic, morally bankrupt, divisive, weak willed, and this is part of the problem. This all started in Vietnam. We lost there. We are losing in Vietnam. We lose when we are not united. This is an important battle. Jihad is Islam. This is a fight to the death. If we keep losing we are going to eventually be under Islamic rule and that is evil and will take the world back to the 7th century and all that was evil in the founders of Islam. Not just Jihad, but Islam itself must be defeated and eliminated. It is not a religion but rather an evil political ideology. Time to face that truth. Unfortunately there are too many wooden heads who belief that all relgions have a right to exist. Not Islam. It is pure evil. I learned this from a former Pakistani Muslim. He called Islam evil.

  • Moose says:

    Jessica needs to work on her energy level.


Islamic state



Al shabaab

Boko Haram