NEW DELHI – Despite frequent turmoil and repeated invasions, Afghanistan has remained virtually unchanged for centuries. Nearly 120 years ago, Winston Churchill described the futility of warfare in the region: “Financially it is ruinous. Morally it is wicked. Militarily it is an open question, and politically it is a blunder.” Churchill’s assessment undoubtedly rings true for many United States and NATO officials today, as they attempt to coordinate an exit from America’s longest overseas combat commitment in history.
While the war in Afghanistan may have resulted in fewer American deaths and injuries than previous US wars, the human cost remains substantial – especially after factoring in Afghan deaths and injuries. Moreover, trillions of dollars have been wasted, with the few positive effects of the US-led military intervention already beginning to fade, and its many adverse consequences continuing to destabilize the region.