The Trump administration recently announced the withdrawal of a few thousand American soldiers from Syria; same is being said about Afghanistan. Will the US quit Afghanistan ever? The following addresses it empirically and conceptually. Before I move to Afghanistan, let it be clear, from the very outset, the announcement of withdrawal of American troops from Syria has its own particular and peculiar context, and it has little comparative value for the South Asian case of Afghanistan. In the Syrian case, based on the divergent set of data emerging from the White House and Pentagon, one gets the impression that President Trump acted in his own authoritarian style, thus, bypassing cumulative input of the US security establishment. Indeed, some Democrats along with progressive sections of the American society have accused him of being directly in touch with both Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and their Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, for corporate reasons. In order to further his business empire, the President Trump acted weirdly- of course, not from his perspective- and bewildered all and sundry. However, the US security establishment did register its resentment in terms of resignation of Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, who himself did not approve of the Trumpist foreign and security policy. In other words, in strategic terms the US ‘deep state’ still thinks conventionally where certain regions and countries matter the most. Thus, Russia, the Middle East and, now, China remain at the center of the US strategic and tactical calculations. This, by default, highlights Syria’s significance for the American establishment and corporate interests for not letting any other major power, particularly Russia, to expand its sphere of influence not just in Syria but also rest of the Middle East. If realism continues to prevail over the US and other major powers such as Russia in regional and global context, peace and stability in Afghanistan and else will remain a distant dream, and the world will witness chaotic re-alignment of interests to the detriment of local populations, economies and the environment Same strategic thinking reins over policy makers in Washington and Moscow vis-à-vis South Asia especially Afghanistan. Since the Soviet withdrawal from the latter by the late 1980s, the US did not lose interest in Afghanistan as well as the South and Central Asian region. Indeed, during the 1990s, certain US corporate executives, with close commercial ties with US civil-military elite, explored business opportunities with the Taliban (state). The fateful events on 9/11 brought the US military might practically back to the rugged land of Afghanistan that witnessed incidence such as ‘daisy cutters’. Ironically, despite massive military means, the US could not completely wipe out its targets especially the traditional Taliban. The traditional here refers to those sections of the Taliban who formed government (1996-2001); were dislodged from office through US/NATO military force; fought against the former; did not expressly oppose its neighbors such as Iran and Pakistan and, to some degree, remained in conversation with the US emissaries via the so called Doha Office. The non-traditional Taliban opposed, for instance, Pakistan openly, and targeted society and the state. To reiterate, since the US is failing to ‘win’ the longest war its (military) history, namely the ongoing Afghan war, due to multiple factors including Russian interest, the former is seemingly following a two-pronged policy. One the one hand, it still uses military means, i.e. Mother of All Bombs; views Afghanistan from purely security and corporate lenses, and wants to prolong its continued stay over there. However, on the other hand, its top leadership, such as former president Barack Obama and now Donald Trump, vows to drawdown the stationed troops and seek negotiations with the Taliban who, as per independents reports, maintain control over more than 70 percent of the Afghanistan territory. The latter seems to have been backed, both implicitly and explicitly, by whole range of countries and corporations that are essentially antagonistic to the US interests in not just Afghanistan but the entire Southwest Asia. The apparent mentioned duality in the US Afghanistan policy points to institutional divergence of input whereby the civilians, i.e. congress, political parties, prefer non-military solution to the ongoing conflicts in the current context. In this respect, the US Congress unanimously passed a resolution to put an end to American support to the Saudi-led war in Yemen. Nonetheless, the military-industrial complex in the US favors continuation of warfare in the Middle East as well as South Asia. The intelligentsia and policy elite that subscribes to this worldview, thus invokes lateral threats such as ‘rising China’. Thus, one gets to go through concepts such as ‘Thucydides’ Trap’ ensconced in sheer realism that dominated the US security policy during the Cold War. If this set of analysis prevails- and there is a likelihood that it may prevail under current Trump regime- the US is least likely to quite Afghanistan in the short to the long term. However, to reduce human and military cost of the conflict and, importantly, explore corporate opportunities, the US is likely to negotiate with the dominant group- currently the Taliban- Afghanistan. Such an arrangement may offer respite for all stakeholders until the negotiated status quo is not overwhelming disturbed. The moment this micro-level balance of power is over, Afghanistan , and the entire region, will again get volatile and turbulent, leaving little space for political will to making durable peace on a sustained basis. Nonetheless, if realism continues to prevail over the US and other major powers such as Russia in regional and global context, peace and stability in Afghanistan and else will remain a distant dream, and the world will witness chaotic re-alignment of interests to the detriment of local populations, economies and the environment. The author has taught at COMSATS, FC College and Iqra Universities in Pakistan. He was a visiting fellow at Fudan University in China and UC Berkeley in the US. Currently, he is based in Shanghai Published in Daily Times, January 17th 2019.