Economically speaking, how did the "reconstruction" of the country work out, given that Washington pumped more money (in real dollars) into Afghanistan in these years than it did into the rebuilding of Western Europe after World War II?
While Afghanistan can stand out with its beautiful landscapes and certain historical events such as defeating the invading USSR, for some time now it has had the dubious distinction of being by far the world's largest producer of opium, the raw material of heroin.
The U.S. government has failed to stop the drug trade at home. Washington also has not created a competent, effective, and honest central government in Afghanistan. How effective will Kabul be in limiting opium production when American troops go home?
So, why we still have troops in Afghanistan? The list of reasons are endless, depending on whom you ask. One might even say the United States is keeping troops in Afghanistan as a way of maintaining leverage over China due to our recently acquired debt.
The most effective way to critically disable the Taliban is to drastically reduce their income and delegitimize them among local populations. What has not been achieved on the battlefield may yet be accomplished in the marketplace.
International drug prohibition, headed by the United States, has, in effect, created a global mechanism that is in the process of eating our civilization alive. Fortunately, we can reverse it with a pen stroke.