Any real security gains that have been made notwithstanding, consider these events which have all occurred in the Afghan capitol of Kabul, and all since June.
- Today, the head of the Afghan High Peace Council (a man who was also a former President of Afghanistan) was killed at his home in a heavily guarded diplomatic area of Kabul.
- A Taliban siege in Kabul last week, which included attacks with grenades, rockets, and suicide vests, held the city captive for two days and resulted in 11 civilian deaths and three Afghan police casualties.
- In the prior two months, there have been attacks on the British Council cultural body and on the Intercontinental, a luxury hotel in Kabul popular with foreign visitors to Afghanistan.
As we begin the process of transitioning responsibility for the nation's security to the government and people of Afghanistan, it is painfully obvious that we are handing over a nearly impossible task. After ten years, thousands of lives, and billions of dollars, Afghanistan remains unstable.
I make no judgments on our original decision to invade Afghanistan in October of 2001, and I am not criticizing any specific conduct of the war since then. I am not arguing that Americans should stay in Afghanistan longer or that they should leave quicker. In the end, I can only conclude that the war has been unwinnable since the start, and that Afghanistan is a costly and bloody puzzle that may only be figured out over a period of decades, if at all.