Afghanistan: 20 Years of War
The War in Afghanistan, at 20 years, has been the longest war in United States history. As it finally comes to a close, Americans are struggling to understand how so much blood (over 2,400 US troops and 3,800 contractors, and about 241,000 Afghanis and Pakistanis of whom approximately 71,000 were civilians) and treasure (more than the Marshall Plan) were spent on a nation-building project that proved an abject failure. Over the years of the war, Anand Gopal has undertaken path-breaking journalism, interviewing former Afghani government officials, Taliban militants and ordinary Afghan men and women. He will discuss why the war’s effects did not live up to the false promises of American political leaders and possible implications for the future of America’s military footprint on the globe.
Anand Gopal is an award-winning journalist and assistant research professor with the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict and the Center on the Future of War at Arizona State University. He holds a Ph.D. in sociology from Columbia University and specializes in ethnographically based data journalism. Gopal has reported extensively on Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq, writing for Harpers, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, The Christian Science Monitor, and other publications, while also producing scholarship based on his fieldwork and complex network analysis. Gopal’s book, No Good Men Among the Living, won the Ridenhour Book Prize, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Gopal’s piece for The New York Times Magazine, “The Uncounted” (co-written with Azmat Khan), won the National Magazine Award, Ed Cunningham Award for Best Magazine Reporting and the Hillman Prize for Magazine Journalism. His article for The Atlantic, “The Hell After ISIS,” was recognized with a George Polk award.