Looking to Past Military Withdraws for Hints on the Future of Afghanistan

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US soldiers board an US Air Force aircraft at the airport in Kabul on August 30, 2021.  (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images)

The United States military has officially pulled out of Afghanistan and the withdrawal has brought comparisons to the fall of Saigon in 1975. But a superficial historical analogy can be as misleading as it is enlightening. We’ll look back at the end of American interventions with scholars of Vietnam, Afghanistan and the Middle East. We’ll ask what can happen after the military leaves and what we can learn about the possible future of Afghanistan by looking at examples from history. 






Robert D. Crews, professor of history, Stanford University

Lien-Hang Nguyen, professor of history of the U.S. and East Asia, Columbia University

Trita Parsi, co-founder and executive vice president, Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, His books include "Losing an Enemy: Obama, Iran and the Triumph of Diplomacy." Former president of the National Iranian American Council