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Afghanistan Withdrawal: 4 Experts’ Views on the U.S.’s Successes and Failures

With the U.S. out of Afghanistan, four experts share their insights on what might happen with the Taliban now in power.

On the panel to discuss the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan are Hollie McKay, a long-time Fox News correspondent currently in Kabul; retired U.S. Special Forces Lieutenant Colonel Perry Blackburn, who served in the first deployment to Afghanistan, in 2001; surgeon Dr. Keith Rose, who spent 15 years in the intelligence community; and foreign-affairs writer Patrick Lawrence, currently a columnist for The Nation and the founder and publisher of a Substack called The Scrum.

Blackburn discusses the original goal of the U.S. deployment to Afghanistan: to defeat the Taliban. Rose talks about how in more recent years, the Taliban has not kept its word, nor is it expected to do so with current promises such as granting safe passage to those wishing to leave the country. McKay shares her current first-hand observations, such as the country’s economic crisis and personal safety, particularly among individuals seen by the Taliban as an enemy. Lawrence agrees with the U.S. decision to leave Afghanistan, particularly because “we shouldn’t have been in there in the first place.”

Lawrence goes on to declare Wednesday’s signing of the agreement between the Australians and the British the starting point of the second Cold War, while Rose discusses Pakistan’s ongoing support of the Taliban.

In addition to the economic and human rights implications of America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, McKay states how government corruption, not ideology, led many Afghans to join the Taliban. Rose attributes many of the U.S.’s failures to a lack of strategy and cultural understanding. Lawrence agrees, citing the failure of America’s higher-ranking policymakers to learn from their mistakes.

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Perry disagrees, saying the U.S. had been on the right path but that massive culture changes take generations to be accepted. To that end, he feels the U.S. was premature in leaving.