Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

An Afghanistan article I’d like to read

It would be interesting to read a counterfactual piece in which the U.S. leaves Afghanistan early in 2002.

Afghan military personnel stand guard at the airport during fighting between Taliban militants and Afghan security forces in Kunduz on October 1, 2015. Afghan forces pushed into the centre of Kunduz on October 1, triggering pitched gunfights as they sought to flush out Taliban insurgents who held the northern city for three days in a stinging blow to the country's NATO-trained military The stunning fall of the provincial capital, even temporarily, highlighted the stubborn insurgency's potential to expand beyond its rural strongholds in the south of the country Afghan forces, hindered by the slow arrival of reinforcements but backed by NATO special forces and US air support, struggled to regain control of the city after three days of heavy fighting. AFP PHOTO / Wakil Kohsar        (Photo credit should read WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/Getty Images)
Afghan military personnel stand guard at the airport during fighting between Taliban militants and Afghan security forces in Kunduz on October 1, 2015. Afghan forces pushed into the centre of Kunduz on October 1, triggering pitched gunfights as they sought to flush out Taliban insurgents who held the northern city for three days in a stinging blow to the country's NATO-trained military The stunning fall of the provincial capital, even temporarily, highlighted the stubborn insurgency's potential to expand beyond its rural strongholds in the south of the country Afghan forces, hindered by the slow arrival of reinforcements but backed by NATO special forces and US air support, struggled to regain control of the city after three days of heavy fighting. AFP PHOTO / Wakil Kohsar (Photo credit should read WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/Getty Images)
Afghan military personnel stand guard at the airport during fighting between Taliban militants and Afghan security forces in Kunduz on October 1, 2015. Afghan forces pushed into the centre of Kunduz on October 1, triggering pitched gunfights as they sought to flush out Taliban insurgents who held the northern city for three days in a stinging blow to the country's NATO-trained military The stunning fall of the provincial capital, even temporarily, highlighted the stubborn insurgency's potential to expand beyond its rural strongholds in the south of the country Afghan forces, hindered by the slow arrival of reinforcements but backed by NATO special forces and US air support, struggled to regain control of the city after three days of heavy fighting. AFP PHOTO / Wakil Kohsar (Photo credit should read WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/Getty Images)

 

It would be interesting to read a counterfactual piece in which the U.S. leaves Afghanistan early in 2002, with only a reinforced bde in Kabul to ensure the regime's survival. Hands off the rest of the country to local authorities, or chaos.

Photo credit: Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images

 

It would be interesting to read a counterfactual piece in which the U.S. leaves Afghanistan early in 2002, with only a reinforced bde in Kabul to ensure the regime’s survival. Hands off the rest of the country to local authorities, or chaos.

Photo credit: Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images

 

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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