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Hal Brands

Biden’s Afghan Pullout Is Risky Politics and Geopolitics

Are Americans so sick of the "forever wars" that they will put up with a resurgent terrorist threat?

Fading away.

Fading away.

Photographer:  Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images

President Joe Biden isn’t just ending America’s war in Afghanistan. He’s moving the U.S. into a new phase, or perhaps a very old one, of its generation-long struggle against Salafi-jihadist terrorism.

Biden is arguing that Washington can keep a lid on the terrorist threat without a consistent, boots-on-the-ground military presence, implicitly rejecting the post-9/11 model of counterterrorism. This shift represents a big geopolitical bet — and a political gamble that may be riskier than the administration calculates.