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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

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  • 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