America’s longest war is ending in tragedy. Once discarded to the dustbin of history, the Taliban have returned to power in Afghanistan. Tens of thousands of Afghans are attempting to flee in panic. Millions more face a future of unrelenting violence, privation, and fear. The life prospects of women and girls have been incalculably dimmed, if not extinguished.
The progress, whatever there was of it, that was made by the U.S. and its partners in the 20 years since 9/11—at a cost of at least $2 trillion in U.S. taxpayer dollars and the lives of 2,448 American troops—lies in ruin.