Ten years into the US occupation of Afghanistan, how can we effectively and humanely end an unwinnable war?

Ten years into the US occupation of Afghanistan, the call to end the war grows louder every day and has even become a cry heard at the Occupy movements that are spreading across the country. Earlier this year, President Barack Obama announced his plan to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan: by the summer of 2012, the president plans to withdraw 33,000 troops and plans to have all combat troops out by 2014. But even after these withdrawal deadlines, other troops such as trainers and consultants will remain. Are these goals realistic or even desirable?

In this Nation Conversation, Jonathan Steele, former chief foreign correspondent for The Guardian and author of Ghosts of Afghanistan: The Haunted Battleground, speaks with The Nation‘s Katrina vanden Heuvel about the possibilities for Afghanistan’s future. Based on his decades of experience covering Afghanistan, Steele argues that the US must learn from the Soviet Union’s experience in Afghanistan. The conflict is “unwinnable,” Steele believes; former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev saw this clearly after he inherited the war, but Obama has yet to fully comprehend this reality.

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Jin Zhao