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Failure in Afghanistan


With the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban many observers in the military, government, and private sector are asking - "How did this happen?" Some are putting their thoughts to paper. Links to articles and reports providing analysis and commentary on the topic is provided below.

Articles and Reports

December 30, 2021. "Afghanistan's conflict in 2021 (2): Republic collapse and Taleban victory in the long-view of history", by Kate Clark, Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN). Kate Clark, co-founder of the Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN), writes a detailed summary of how the Taliban achieved victory in the summer of 2021. Her report looks at how districts and provincial capitals fell to the Taliban, traces the various roles played by the Republic, the Taliban, and Washington in the Taliban victory, and looks to history to consider how secure the Taliban's second Emirate may be.

December 29, 2021. "Special Report: Pilots detail chaotic collapse of the Afghan Air Force", by Phil Stewart, Reuters. During July and August 2021 the Taliban took district after district and province after province. The Afghan Air Force (AAF) attempted to consolidate its operations defending Kabul. But the effect of pulling U.S. provided contractors out of Afghanistan who managed the AAF logistics system and performed maintenance on the AAF aircraft had a devastating and irreversable outcome.

December 21, 2021. "Realpolitik and the 2021 National Budget: The toxic struggle for money and power that undermined Afghanistan's Republic", by Roxanna Shapour, Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN), December 21, 2021.

November 1, 2021. Barnett Rubin takes a look at the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan over the past twenty years and provides insight on the many factors that caused the Afghan state to collapse in the summer of 2021. "The Once and Future Defeat in Afghanistan", War on the Rocks.

October 28, 2021. Read an explanation of why a large conventional army trained and equipped with modern weapons and equipment couldn't defeat the Taliban insurgency. The article offers a critique of the U.S. military's advisory effort in Afghanistan. "Requiem For The Afghan 'Faberge Egg' Army: Why Did It Crack So Quickly", by Jahara Matisek, Modern War Institute at West Point.

October 21, 2021. "Lessons from the Collapse of Afghanistan's Security Forces", by Jonathan Schroden, CTC Sentinel, Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. Schroden, recognized by many as an expert on 'all things Afghanistan', presents six themes from a close examination of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces collapse in 2021 and derives three key lessons. His 17-page report, including four pages of citations, is available online.

September 5, 2021. "Five Myths About NATO and Afghanistan", by Sara Bjerg Moller, Lawfare Blog. An explanation of Europes involvement in Afghanistan is explored by the author.

September 5, 2021. "20 Years of Flawed Assumptions Led to Failure in Afghanistan", by Luiza Carter, History News Network. The author deployed to Afgahnistan as a Political-Military Advisor during 2015-2016.

August 30, 2021. "How Turf Wars Mucked Up America's Exit from Afghanistan", by Adam Ciralsky, Vanity Fair. In Antony Blinken's State Department, bureaucratic decisions affecting the Afghan withdrawal were "slightly more organized than a 'Choose Your Own Adventure novel'.

August 30, 2021. "Afghanistan Was Lost Long Ago", by James Dobbins, Foreign Affairs. Defeat wasn't inevitable, but early mistakes made success unlikely.

August 26, 2021. "All Rapport, No Results: What Afghanistan's Collapse Reveals About the Flaws in US Security Force Assistance", by Rachel Tecott, Modern War Institute at West Point.

August 24, 2021. "How we as a nation - and I as a military officer - failed in Afghanistan", by General Ben Hodges, New York Post.

August 21, 2021. "The Taleban's rise to power: As the US prepared for peace, the Taleban prepared for war", by Kate Clark, Afghanistan Analysts Network.

August 21, 2021. "I was in Kabul when it fell to the Taliban. The speed of the collapse stunned me", by Franz J. Marty, The Guardian.

August 20, 2021. "David Petraeus on American Mistakes in Afghanistan", The New Yorker. The former general defends Afghan troops and blames the speed of the withdrawal for the government's collapse.

August 20, 2021. "Gratitude to Our Allies and Partners for Supporting U.S. Efforts to Evacuate U.S. Citizens, Partners, and At-Risk Afghans", Secretary Blinken, U.S. Department of State.

August 19, 2021. "Why Didn't They Fight? Inside the Collapse of the Afghan Army", by Dustin Jones, Coffee or Die Magazine.

August 18, 2021. "Perspectives on the 'forever war' from those who saw it up close", by Deirdre Shesgreen, USA Today.

August 18, 2021. "Why Did the Afghan Army Evaporate?", by Tim Willasey-Wilsey, RUSI.

August 18, 2021. "CIA's Former Counterterrorism Chief for the Region: Afghanistan, Not An Intelligence Failure - Something Much Worse", by Douglas London, Just Security.

August 16, 2021. "The Ides of August", by Sarah Chayes. A U.S. citizen who lived in Kandahar for ten years, wrote books, advised generals, and ran non-profit organizations provides her perspective on why the U.S. failed in Afghanistan. Afghan corruption and Pakistan are featured in this article.

August 15, 2021. "Joe Biden's Botched Withdrawal Plunges Afghanistan Into Chaos", by W.J. Hennigan and Kimberly Dozier, Time.

August 15, 2021. "The US should provide an explanation for the enfeebled Afghan military", by Kabir Taneja, Observer Research Foundation (ORF).




Understanding Afghanistan. Some critics say that the U.S. government and military didn't understand the Afghan insurgency. Not recognized by many is the fact that the Taliban are predominantly Pastu. The Tribal Analysis Center offers readings that can help one understand this aspect of the Taliban.











Books about Afghanistan

Books about Afghanistan

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