An Afghan soldier on patrol in southern Afghanistan, Dec. 11, 2014. The military stalemate in Afghanistan endures almost 17 years after the United States invasion in October 2001.
Almost 17 years after the start of the war in Afghanistan, the Taliban insurgency rages on with no end in sight. And despite the launch last summer of a new strategy and a considerable ramp-up in air power, the United States appears no closer to breaking the stalemate, in which the central government in Kabul continues to control Afghanistan's urban areas and the Taliban exerts influence over wide swaths of the countryside. Foreign support and the failure of the Afghan state are central to the continued endurance of the Afghan insurgency. Another key element -- often overlooked -- is the Taliban's success in establishing deep ties within Afghanistan's rural social fabric....
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