On August 27, Foreign Policy published a biweekly column featuring Scowcroft Center deputy director Matthew Kroenig and New American Engagement Initiative senior fellow Emma Ashford discussing the latest news in international affairs.
In this column, they discuss the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, the hasty evacuation after the Afghan government’s collapse, and the question of accountability in Afghanistan.
It’s easy to focus on the chaotic evacuation, but after 20 years, I would far rather see some congressional hearings on the war itself. I’m skeptical that there can be any real accountability—as responsibility for the war was so widespread in Washington—but at least it would throw some light on the biggest mistakes and on why this war went so badly and why it took so long to end.
This was a self-created catastrophe. There is little reason for U.S. forces to be experiencing this tragedy right now. The U.S. and NATO military presence in Afghanistan was sustainable. Those forces were helping the Afghan government control Kabul and much of the rest of the country. This military presence was good for the United States, the Afghan people, and much of the rest of the world.