On Sept. 18, 2016, The New York Times published an editorial entitled “The Afghan War Quagmire.” At 3:30 p.m. Thursday (Nov. 3), David N. Gibbs, professor of history at the University of Arizona, will review America’s current position in a talk at the ASA entitled “Failure of U.S. Policy in Afghanistan.”
In the late 1990s, Afghanistan’s Taliban government allied itself with Al Qaeda, an alliance that generated several spectacular terrorist attacks, most notably the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
In response to these disasters, the United States and its NATO allies sponsored the overthrow of the Taliban regime in late 2001 and the installation of a new Afghan government, with the support of military forces from the United States and NATO. The Afghan war that resulted from these events is now in its 15th year, making it the longest single war in U.S. military history.
The American combat role was supposed to have officially ceased in 2014, but some 10,000 U.S. forces remain in the country. The U.S. Air Force has continued strikes against insurgent targets, and there are frequent calls for U.S. ground forces to resume combat operations.
The combined long-term cost of the Afghan and Iraq wars has been estimated at between $4 and $7 trillion, according to Columbia University economist Joseph Stiglitz.
Gibbs has a BA in political science from George Washington University, an MA in government from Georgetown University, and a PhD in political science from MIT.
He has written extensively on the international relations of Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, and Afghanistan and is currently working on a study on the rise of conservative politics in the United States during the 1970s.
Written by Charles Prewitt, Academy Village Volunteer