The Sunday Magazine·THE SUNDAY EDITION

Is the war in Afghanistan 'unwinnable'?

This week's carnage in Kabul underscored the fact that after 16 years of blood and treasure, the Taliban controls more territory now than it did before the arrival of NATO troops in the aftermath of 9/11. As the U.S. considers sending 5,000 more soldiers, Paul Rogers, professor of peace studies at Bradford University, explains what went wrong, why Afghanistan matters to the security of the world, and draws a map for the road ahead.
Afghan security forces personnel are seen at the site of a car bomb attack in Kabul on May 31, 2017. (SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images)

 While world attention shifted to two terrorist incidents in the centre of London on Saturday, June 3, citizens of another capital were coming to grips with more terror.

At least 90 people were killed Wednesday, May 31 when a bomb exploded outside the German embassy in Kabul. More than 400 were injured.

The blast was just the latest in a series of deadly attacks in Afghanistan's capital over the past year. In March, gunmen dressed as medics shot more than 50 people at a hospital. In January, 33 people were killed and more than 70 wounded near the new parliament building. 

Afghan residents wounded in a car bomb attack receive treatment at a hospital in Kabul on May 31, 2017. (WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/Getty Images)

This week's carnage once again shines an international spotlight on the on-going trauma of Afghanistan. After 16 years of foreign intervention, the country remains plagued by war, corruption, lawlessness and grinding poverty. Some estimate that the Taliban controls more territory now than it did before the NATO mission began. Afghanistan remains a haven for more than a dozen recognized terrorist groups, which undoubtedly have tentacles into the West. 

The cost to the U.S. alone has been more than 800 billion dollars; 2,000 Americans have been killed. Canada's Afghan war ended in March of 2014. 158 soldiers were killed, and more than 2,000 were injured. 

The United States is now considering sending as many as 5,000 more troops, to help fight the longest war in its history. 

But will an infusion of troops make a difference? And what would victory in Afghanistan look like?

Michael talks to Paul Rogers, professor of peace studies at Bradford University, and International Security Advisor for openDemocracy. His most recent book is "Irregular War: ISIS and the New Threat From the Margins."

Click 'listen' above to hear the interview. 

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