Afghanistan and the Dark Side of No Man Left Behind

By Marc Polymeropoulos

Marc Polymeropoulos served 26 years in the CIA before retiring from the Senior Intelligence Service in June 2019.  His positions included field and headquarters operational assignments covering the Middle East, Europe, Eurasia and CounterTerrorism.  He is the recipient of the Distinguished Intelligence Medal, the Intelligence Commendation Medal, and the Intelligence Medal of Merit.

As the U.S. administration is contemplating the next steps in our march toward departure from Afghanistan (what some consider a much needed disengagement from an 18 year conflict, while others see more as a Vietnam-like total surrender ceding our gains to an unrepentant Taliban) one aspect that must be considered is the cost to our indigenous Afghan partners.

During my service in Afghanistan, we lived, ate, and fought with some incredible Afghan patriots who saw the U.S. as the indispensable ally in their fight for survival.  Over chicken, goat, and rice, innumerable cups of tea, too many funerals of comrades lost, frozen winters and brutally hot summers, we were locked in arms in the struggle to rid Afghanistan of the Taliban.

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