Dec. 11, 2001: Three months after 9/11, two months after U.S. President George W. Bush ordered bombs to begin raining on Kabul, the day The Village Voice published one of my war reports from the front in Afghanistan: "We've lost this war," I wrote. To drive my point home, the headline was: "How We Lost Afghanistan."

I continued: "So how much will it cost?" Seventeen years later, the end of America's longest war appears to be drawing near. Peace talks between the Trump administration and the Taliban in Qatar have culminated with an "agreement on principle" whose main U.S. demand is easy for the Taliban to grant. Afghanistan, the Taliban must assure the U.S. and the Afghan puppet regime in Kabul, cannot again become a "platform for international terrorist groups or individuals."

Even according to estimates by the Obama-era CIA, al-Qaida's presence in Afghanistan was more of a coincidence than a fearsome terrorist organization: "About 50 to 100 Qaida operatives." They could have fit on one bus. For this we fought a war?