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Adrift in Afghanistan

Trump Should Clarify the United States’ Role

A boy playing on a merry-go-round in Kabul, July 2015. Ahmad Masood / REUTERS

One enormous bomb did not change the war in Afghanistan. Neither did one gruesome attack by the Taliban on Afghan soldiers as the soldiers finished their prayers—an attack so bloody that Afghan authorities ran out of coffins to bury the dead.

But together the two events have shoved a war largely ignored by American politicians and the public back into the spotlight. And now urgent questions must be answered about the near- and long-term future of the fight, for the sake of the U.S. military fighting the war, the American public funding the war, and the Afghan forces working to defend their country.

Time may have passed since the last interagency policy review on Afghanistan, conducted by U.S. President Barack Obama in 2009, but the questions in need of answers haven’t changed.

First, the United States must be clear about its goals in Afghanistan and how the

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