Consistent military victories will rejuvenate America’s image in Afghanistan. We will return to the status of being the stronger tribe. Once that happens, real headway can be made in ending America’s commitment there.
The ongoing Mosul Offensive is proceeding well, but the Islamic State is not going anywhere for a while. In Afghanistan, the Taliban are fighting to retake the vital Helmand Province with renewed vigor, as the U.S. continues to drawdown. The fact that the Islamic State can easily find refuge in Syria and that the Taliban seem poised to retake operational control over Afghanistan means that the U.S. is on the losing side of an eroding stalemate in the Global War on Terror. This essay addresses these concerns and articulates a general way forward.