The US Army War College Quarterly: Parameters


Policy initiatives in the Trump administration and the Biden-Harris administration significantly accelerated the Taliban’s victory in Afghanistan. This article supports the conclusion that the major factors in this defeat were the historical difficulty in governing Afghanistan, the Afghan republic’s two inefficient and corrupt governments, an ineffective US strategy, operational shortcomings by US forces, an ineffective Afghan military, Pakistan’s duplicitous policy, and the strength and determination of the Taliban. This article rejects the claim that the United States’ nation-building effort was a major factor in its defeat and concludes with a discussion of lessons encountered.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


04-01-Collins---Defeat-in-Afghanistan-an-Autopsy.mp3 (27636 kB)
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