We’re repeating the mistakes of Afghanistan




One year from the fall of Kabul to the Taliban, the US and NATO have moved on. Their support for Ukraine, even if by proxy, has to some extent cleansed the memory of their failures in Afghanistan. But a reluctance to look back at what went wrong risks leading to the same mistakes being repeated in Ukraine,  argues Hew Strachan.  For the US, NATO and the ‘west’, the differences between today’s war in Ukraine and yesterday’s war in Afghanistan seem so vast as to make comparisons redundant.  One was a counter-insurgency campaign; the other is a major war for national defence.  One was fought in Asia, the other in Europe.  But for all the apparent differences, the similarities are sufficient to give us pause for thought.NATO has marched on from one conflict to the other, allowing Afghanistan to fade into oblivion as it shifts to Ukraine. Once upon a time Afghanistan was, at least in comparison with Iraq, the ‘good war’; today’s good war is Ukraine.  Both wars were and are shaped by the des…

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