United States

The Afghan toll

Print edition : June 09, 2017

(From left) Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, President Ashraf Ghani, the warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, former jehadi leader Abdul Rabb Rasool Sayyaf and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah on their way to a ceremony at the presidential palace in Kabul on May 4. Photo: Shah Marai/REUTERS

General John Nicholson, commander of the U.S. forces in Afghanistan, and U.S. Defence Secretary James Mattis at news conference in Kabul on April 24. Photo: JONATHAN ERNST/AFP

A mosque that was damaged in aTaliban attack on the Afghan National Army’s 209th Corps base in Balkh province on April 21. Photo: AFP

Harvesting opium sap in a poppy field in Helmand province on April 11.The U.S. has spent at least $8.5 billion in its counternarcotics campaign, but to no avail: 80 per cent of the world’s heroin comes from Afghan opium. Photo: NOOR MOHAMMAD/AFP

The U.S. has little to show for its long engagement in Afghanistan. And if the Taliban returns to power, it will be a major blow to U.S. prestige. Every contingency will be taken to prevent that outcome, even the destruction of Afghanistan.
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