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America’s unwinnable war in Afghanistan, after exacting a staggering cost in blood and treasure, is finally drawing to an official close. How this development shapes Afghanistan’s future will have a significant bearing on the security of countries located far beyond. After all, Afghanistan is not Vietnam: The end of U.S.-led combat operations may not end the war, because the enemy will seek to target Western interests wherever located.

Can the fate of Afghanistan be different from two other Muslim countries where the United States militarily intervened — Iraq and Libya? Iraq has been partitioned in all but name into Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish sections, while Libya seems headed toward a similar three-way but tribal-based partition, underscoring that a foreign military intervention can effect regime change but not establish order.

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