It took barely two months after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001 for the United States mission to point itself toward defeat.
“Tomorrow the Taliban will start surrendering their weapons,” the Taliban’s spokesman, Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, announced on Dec. 7, 2001. “I think we should go home.”
But the United States refused the group’s surrender, vowing to fight on to shatter the Taliban’s influence in every corner of the country.
That same week, Washington oversaw an international agreement to establish a new government in Afghanistan that would be “by some accounts the most centralized in the world,” said Frances Z. Brown, an Afghanistan expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
announced he is ending after 20 years of war.
wrote in 2019.
And it meant that when the Americans did leave, Ms. Mukhopadhyay warned, “the incentives for Afghan power brokers to go it alone and engage in predatory, even cannibalistic behavior, may prove irresistible.”