One of the few areas of foreign policy President Biden and former President Donald Trump agreed on was ending the two-decade-long war in Afghanistan. With the Taliban's effective capture of Kabul, Afghanistan's capital, it appears the war is over two weeks before Biden's deadline, with a chaotic final rush to the exit. Biden is standing by his decision to pull out U.S. forces and contractors, but the Republican Party appears to be tiptoeing backward from Trump's role.
The Republican National Committee has removed a page from the 2020 campaign that says "Biden has had a history of pushing for endless wars" while "Trump has continued to take the lead in peace talks as he signed a historic peace agreement with the Taliban in Afghanistan, which would end America's longest war," The Washington Post's David Weigel noted Sunday.
Trump's secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, argued Sunday that the Trump administration had insisted the Taliban meet "a set of conditions" before the U.S. withdrew, and that the Biden administration "has failed." As the Post's Paul Kane pointed out, it's not clear Trump agrees with that.
In researching his new book, Reign of Terror: How the 9/11 Era Destabilized America and Produced Trump, Spencer Ackerman spoke in 2020 with retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the former Joint Special Operations Command and Afghanistan War commander, and asked him if the War on Terror had been worth it. "It would be impossible to argue that it was," McChrystal answered, Ackerman writes at The Daily Beast. "The outcome just hasn't been positive enough to argue that."
"I think that we can never know a counterfactual, we can never know what would have happened if we'd gone in and done things differently, so I can't argue it automatically would have been different," McChrystal continued. "I think the things that were done with good intentions, mostly. But no. We just made so many fundamental mistakes in how we approached it that the question is, which again, you and I can't answer: Had we gone in with a different mindset, a totally different approach, which would have been more of a counterinsurgency approach, building through the state, would it have worked? I can't say it would've, but I think it would have been a better approach."