The graveyard of empires appears to have claimed another victim. But why couldn’t a high-powered coalition that included the United States, United Kingdom and Canada defeat a radically fundamentalist group of murderous zealots?
Many said from the beginning that the post-9/11 invaders of Afghanistan were doomed to follow the Persians, Greeks, Arabs, Turks, Mongols, Britons (three times) and Soviets—none of whom managed a permanent presence or far-reaching impact in the parched and willfully independent land of deserts, mountains and open plains.
A successful campaign of liberation relies as much on winning hearts and minds as it does on strategic military successes.
Winning over Afghans, as the recent collapse of their national army suggests, was far easier said than done.