The Afghanistan and Iraq wars were also the most expensive wars in American history.
And yet – as the New York Times reports – the Taliban are as widespread and strong now as they were before we launched the war:
The Taliban insurgency has spread through more of Afghanistan than at any point since 2001, according to data compiled by the United Nations as well as interviews with numerous local officials in areas under threat.
The United Nations data suggests that the tempo of the insurgency has increased in many parts of the country where there had been little Taliban presence in the past, including some areas in the north with scant Pashtun populations.
“We have had fighting in 13 provinces of Afghanistan over the past six months, simultaneously,” President Ashraf Ghani said this month in response to criticism after the fall of Kunduz.
In all, 27 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces had some districts where the threat level was rated high or extreme.
Indeed, the strength of the Taliban may conceivably now be even higher than in 2001. Specifically, the Times notes:
The data [was] compiled in early September — even before the latest surge in violence in northern Afghanistan ….
And way back in 2012, Spiegel noted, that the Taliban was “stronger than EVER.”
So why did we launch the Afghanistan war?
After all, the Taliban offered to hand over Bin Laden.
There might have been other reasons …
Postscript: It’s not just Afghanistan … recent U.S. wars have not gone well.