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Noah Feldman

I Should Have Listened to My Dad About Afghanistan

I thought 20 years ago that the U.S. had a moral duty to rebuild the country after routing the Taliban. He knew that there’s nothing moral about chasing phantoms.

Back again.

Back again.

Source: AFP via Getty Images

The fall of Kabul reminds me of an argument I had with my father on Thanksgiving Day of 2001. The U.S. had invaded Afghanistan and swept away the Taliban. The question was what to do next.

My father, who taught international relations at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, learned Dari and went to Afghanistan in 1969, had a simple answer: U.S. forces should leave the country immediately.