The United States invaded Afghanistan 19 years ago today, sparking the nation’s longest-running war that has cost tens of thousands of lives and the U.S. about $2 trillion. While the U.S. originally ousted the Taliban as part of a broader anti-terrorism campaign, the Taliban and other militants have waged a bloody and arguably successful insurgency for nearly two decades. Despite billions of dollars in U.S. aid, and years of state-building and counterterrorism operations obscured by mission drift and government disinformation, Afghans continue to suffer a bloody civil war even as the Taliban meet with the Western-backed government for historic peace talks in Qatar.
Deadly airstrikes and bombings have punctuated the fragile and slow-moving peace negotiations since they began in mid-September after months of delay. On Monday, a suicide bomber targeted the convoy of the governor of Afghanistan’s Laghman province, killing eight people and injuring dozens more, including civilians and children. Nobody immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Taliban and Islamic State militants are active in the area, according to the Associated Press.
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