When US forces and their Afghan allies rode into Kabul in November 2001 they were greeted as liberators. But after 17 years of war, the Taliban have retaken half the country, security is worse than ever before — and many Afghans put the blame on the Americans. The United States has lost more than 2,400 soldiers in its longest war and spent more than $900 billion on everything from military operations to reconstruction. Three US presidents have pledged to bring peace to Afghanistan, either by adding or withdrawing troops, by engaging the Taliban or shunning them. But none of it has worked. After years of frustration, Afghanistan is rife with conspiracy theories, including the idea that Americans didn’t stumble into a forever war, but planned one all along. Published in Daily Times, November 14th 2018.