The profile of Gen. Mark Milley ’80 (“Enemies, Foreign and Domestic,” September issue) was well done, itself a chapter in our nation’s history. Readers will no doubt ponder his view that the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan was “a logistical success but a strategic failure.” Based on my two years in Panjshir Valley, in the Afghan foothills of the Hindu Kush, I certainly agree with his strategic point. Many Americans, though, would reverse his verdict, calling it a logistical failure but strategic success — that is, the actual pullout was a hot mess but the overall decision, after two decades of costly effort, was essentially right. Maybe there is a consensus on a different judgment, this one from Hamid Karzai on the assassination of Ahmad Shah Massoud by Al Qaeda two days before 9/11: “Oh what an unlucky country.”
Editor’s note: The writer, a former U.S. foreign service officer, established the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Panjshir, Afghanistan, which he led from 2005 to 2007.