H-PAD Notes 8/20/21: Some sources on background of current events in Afghanistan

Sources on US Role in Afghanistan

During this past week, there has been an outpouring of articles – many of them critical of the President’s decision to withdraw the final increment of U.S, troops from Afghanistan and concerned about the ostensible loss of “American credibility.”

We have quickly assembled the following list of articles, either written by historians or by historically oriented writers, which approach the topic from an anti-militarist perspective.

Carolyn “Rusti” Eisenberg and Jim O'Brien


Gordon Adams, Afghanistan only the latest US war to be driven by deceit and delusion, The Conversation, posted August 17

Andrew Bacevich, Through its Misuse of Military Power the United States has Made a Terrible Mess in Afghanistan, Responsible Statecraft, posted August 16

Patrick Cockburn, The US and UK got things so wrong in Afghanistan because they do not understand the Afghan way of war, Yahoo News, posted August 17

Juan Cole, Biden Doctrine and Afghanistan:Lean Counter-Terrorism and the End of Bloated Nation-Building, Informed Comment blog, posted August 17

Juan Cole, Déjà vu All Over Again: The Last Time Mazar-i-Sharif Fell to the TalibanThere Were Massacres, Informed Comment blog, posted August 15

Anatol Lieven, The Generals Lied and the Fantasies Died, Responsible Statecraft, posted August 16

Anatol Lieven, Why Afghan Forces So Quickly Laid Down Their Arms, Politico, posted August 16

Samuel Moyn, Biden Pulled Troops Out of Afghanistan. He didn’t End the Forever War,  Responsible Statecraft, posted August 17

Paul Pillar, Taliban and Al Qaeda: If there is no war, there won’t be an alliance, Responsible Statecraft, posted August 19

Vijay Prashad, The Return of the Taliban 20 Years Later, CounterPunch.org, posted August 19

David Rothkopf, America's Catastrophic Afghanistan Exit Has Many Fathers, The Daily Beast, posted August 13

Nick Turse, The Fall of Kabul, Reader Supported News, posted August 16

Katrina vanden Heuvel, Rather than Focus on How the US Got out of Afghanistan, Focus on How It Got In, Washington Post, posted August 17

Robert Wright, How the Afghanistan War Really Started: And how seeing its origins in Cold War geopolitics can help us avoid future disasters, Nonzero Newsletter, posted August 16

Very Helpful Primary Sources, See especially:

Special Inspector General Report, What We Need to Learn: Lessons from Twenty Years of Afghanistan Reconstruction

National Security Archive, Afghanistan 20/20: the 20-Year War in 20 Documents, posted  August 19