Analysis: Washington did not learn the lessons of Vietnam and more death and suffering are inevitable
The US war in Afghanistan was not supposed to be another Vietnam. “I don’t do quagmires,” said Donald Rumsfeld, the architect of the original US invasion, who died last week. In the end the former US defence secretary did two quagmires, airily assuming Afghanistan was “won” in the spring of 2003 when he sent American troops to fight in Iraq.
US combat troops were in Vietnam for eight years, but they have been in Afghanistan for 20. It has been America’s longest war by far.
Joe Biden has insisted the withdrawal is not quite complete, but the remaining few hundred US troops in Afghanistan are there on guard duty. The abandonment of Bagram airbase on Friday marked the true end to the US military presence in the country.