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As U.S. President Donald Trump tries to end America’s longest war, he has settled on a compromise. Instead of withdrawing all American troops from Afghanistan by Christmas, as he boasted in a tweet in October, he will be leaving behind a small counterterrorism force.

It’s tempting to view the development with a sense of relief. A full withdrawal from Afghanistan, or for that matter Iraq, would have been a humiliation for the U.S. on the world stage and a likely prelude to the collapse of two elected governments for which America has invested significant blood and treasure.

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