In This Review

The Fifth Act: America’s End in Afghanistan
The Fifth Act: America’s End in Afghanistan
By Elliot Ackerman
Penguin Press, 2022, 288 pp.

In August 2021, Afghanistan was thrust back into the headlines. Taliban forces rapidly closed in on Kabul, and the United States began making its final military withdrawal. Suddenly, the world was confronted with images of desperate people squeezing their way into Kabul’s airport for a chance to flee. Almost overnight, nearly everything that the United States and its allies had accomplished in 20 years of fighting, spending, and building in Afghanistan disintegrated. For the one million or so Americans who had taken part in those failed endeavors, and for the millions of young Afghans who had grown up under a Western-backed

Finish reading this article for free.

Enter your email and we'll send a paywall-free link directly to your inbox.

In addition to your unlocked article, you will receive our flagship weekly newsletter Foreign Affairs This Week, as well as occasional updates and offers from Foreign Affairs. You can unsubscribe at any time. For more information, visit our user agreement and privacy policy.

Get unlimited access to all Foreign Affairs. Subscribe now.

Are you already a subscriber? Sign in.

  • LAUREL MILLER is Director of the Asia Program at the International Crisis Group. From 2013 to 2017, she served as Deputy and then Acting Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan at the U.S. Department of State.
  • More By Laurel Miller