Far from an “orderly drawdown” and without conferring with NATO allies, President Biden in April announced the end of the US engagement in Afghanistan. This opened the window for the Afghan Taliban to effectively exploit the lack of opposition power and overrun rural Afghan government forces in the provinces.
In English-language media and expert forums, questions who lost the war in Afghanistan to the Afghan Taliban and why had already risen. After another disgraceful strategic intervention failure, the question we ask is: who actually won America’s Longest War?
This paper by Friso Stevens addresses the lack of a clearly stated end goal, along with the problem that the nationally oriented Afghan tribal groupings were never our enemy nor threatening the homeland of the US or its European allies. What the US in essence did, and NATO later signed up on, was immerse itself into an existing stalemated civil war.
With the West now facing new challenges such as the great power competition with China and Revolution in Military Affairs-fought symmetric battles, the papers concludes with the lessons learned for future Western engagement based on restraint.