About News The High Costs of a Precipitous US Withdrawal from Afghanistan Jan 04, 2020 John Ciorciari, Phil Potter, Javed Ali, and Ryan Van Wie The High Costs of a Precipitous US Withdrawal from Afghanistan © Getty ImagesAs we enter into a new decade, America has been at war in Afghanistan for almost twenty years — the longest conflict in U.S. history. What started in the immediate aftermath of the al Qaeda terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, as a counterterrorism mission has morphed into something more ambitious but less well defined and, ultimately, less successful. The costs have been staggering — more than 2,000 U.S. service members have died in Afghanistan, over 15,000 have been injured, and — according to some estimates — U.S. spending may have totaled over $2 trillion. Americans — from foreign policy elites in Washington to the general public — understandably want to see this chapter brought to a close. But history warns of the consequences when the United States leaves a conflict precipitously before the foundations for an acceptable political settlement are in place. In 1975, when the U.S. military withdrew fully from Vietnam, communist forces quickly overran a weak South Vietnamese government. If the Taliban were to sweep similarly to victory, harrowing human rights abuses could follow, and all our investments of blood and treasure could be undone. READ FULL ARTICLE IN THE HILL Philip Potter Philip Potter is an Associate Professor specializing in foreign policy and international relations. He also conducts research in the area of international terrorism and is a principal investigator for a Department of Defense Minerva Initiative project to map and analyze collaborative relationships between terrorist organizations. Read full bio Related Content Philip Potter The WTO might return to diplomatic settlements for trade disputes. Here’s why. News The global trade appeals system has stalled. Batten's Philip Potter and the University of Pennsylvania's Julia Gray examine if it ever really worked. Q&A: How Philip Potter Navigates 21st-Century National Security Policy News Since its inception in 2018, the National Security Policy Center at the University of Virginia’s Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy has made something of a name for itself.