A political cartoon in the Seattle Times. Actually, not really true. The reason Afghanistan was such a mess was because another idiot republican president (is there any other kind) 'W' was so fixated on getting even with Saddam and launching the war on Iraq (which was another failed war). It was said so many resources and time was lost on this war that the real reason for the invasion was lost. The theme should have been on the constant reminder of the folly of fighting a war on two fronts.
History has shown that no outside power has ever won or made a significant difference in Afghanistan. The British were driven out in the 1800's at a great price to their military and economic.
Afghanistan essentially brought down the Soviet Union. Attempting to keep up with the US in the area, the Soviet economy became too overstretched which was a major cause of the USSR nation.
Now the US is learning the same lesson as Great Britain and the Soviet Union. Politicians now efute the claim that our purpose there, besides chastising and destroying Osama bin Laden and the AL Queda network, was nation building. We know that is not true.
The rahrahs of the time thought Afghanistan deserved Democracy, whether they wanted it or not. The disparate tribal structure of the cultures In Afghanistan does not make for a conducive structure to implement and sustain a Democracy. Too many of the cultures are either self-contain theocratic or tribes invested in the poop trade and do not relish an outside government interfering with their business.
IMO, what is true, is that in both Vietnam and Afghanistan we invested too much blood/treasure in countries where it was difficult-to-impossible to distinguish between friend/foe and the 'local' friends couldn't/wouldn't fight their own foe(s). IOW, it is not clear to me that the US has "LEARNED OUR LESSON'
We have not. The same thing was at play in Korea but at least there was a partial settlement. Still, our involvement in Iraq help strengthen ISIS and other radical Moslem groups. It made any kind of deal in Afghanistan almost impossible. I remember us getting into this mess because of the country's support of Bin Laden and refusing to give him up. It was not trying to settle a civil war.
After spending a month in Vietnam (with my Vietnamese sister-in-law) we got a different version of the war and why we should not have gotten involved. Just like the soviets we were trying to push our version of a certain government. I have also come to understand that the biggest threat to democracy is diversity and a large and growing population. More and different groups of people become harder and harder to manage.
Too bad the leaders of this country continue to fail and understand history. It was said that our influence and money in Afghanistan, bankrupted the Soviets. And yet we think we can fix the mess we created. Perhaps the Russians now have the last laugh. My late partner was from Iran. The Afghani's speak Farsi but are very poor. The Iranians bring in the people from Afghanistan as their workers doing all the hard work Iranians won't do. Sound familiar. The problem with many poor countries is their fertility rates are higher than that from developed, richer countries. There can be no way to help unless those rates are brought way down.