The Afghanistan War Was A Success — If You Understand the Objective

Michael Francis
5 min readAug 18, 2021

With the Taliban racing through Afghanistan with breakneck speed, toppling the government in just days (not months as most intel suspected), Americans are coming to grips with the stunning failure that was the Afghanistan War.

There have been some classically bad hot takes in the past week. Republicans have lined up to slam Biden for what’s being called a great failure, but often times those same Republicans can be found tweeting their full support for President’s Trump attempts at the same full withdrawal during his term.

Never waste an opportunity to score some retweets.

In the age of soundbites and hyper-partisan politics, it’s hard to blame anyone for not using the opportunity to score some Twitter points.

But it’s important to remember a few things here that are very easy to overlook once we get caught in the blame game.

Let’s work from the present day backwards. I’ll start by saying that I’m no Biden fanboy; while I voted for him simply in defense of the alternative, he’s not done much or said much to impress me. But I’m not sure what could have been done here. Whether the Taliban took back the country in days or months, does it really make a difference? Despite the war stretching 20 years, there was still obviously no plan put in place by the previous 3 administrations on how to leave the country, without creating a power vacuum. It’s uncomfortable, I’m just not sure it was avoidable, unless we wanted to remain there forever, which can’t possibly be the answer.

Once admitting that the country falling to the Taliban was likely inevitable, let’s rewind a little and meet one of the major players. The political leader of the Taliban today is widely accepted as Abdul Ghani Baradar. Baradar, a co-founder of the Taliban, had actually been captured and jailed in 2010. He was one of 5000 members of the Taliban released in October 2018 at the request of American forces.

Worth noting that former President Trump and Mike Pompeo had been in peace talks with the Taliban just about eight weeks before his release. If we want to play the blame game, that has to count for…

Michael Francis

Trying to live and promote an examined life.