Lots of people in Washington knew the Afghanistan war was not going well and would end in disaster. They did nothing. From Michael Tracey at mtracey.substack.com:
In September of 2017, an obscure government official stood before a small audience at an obscure think tank and described a catastrophe that was unfolding. “Obscure” to the average citizen, that is — but not at all obscure to the “insiders” and journalists who attend these sorts of gatherings in DC, or sign up for the pertinent email lists, or read acronym-filled trade publications.
It was only a few weeks earlier that a president, his first year in office, had been persuaded by “the adults in the room” — those sagely Generals again — to authorize yet another escalation in a war these “insiders” largely knew was unwinnable. Curiously, the “adult” decision always seems to entail prolonging fatally doomed military interventions, as though that were the obviously sober and mature course of action. This same ritual had also occurred with the previous president his first year in office, albeit with even more catastrophic consequences.
The obscure government official, reserved in his manner but about as candid could be expected under the circumstances, relayed a few anecdotes:
“One US officer,” he said, “watched TV shows like COPS and NCIS to learn what he should teach Afghan police recruits.”
That would be a reference to the Afghan National Police, one of the country’s US-subsidized security forces which just evaporated this week.
The official continued:
“We heard horrible stories about the widows. Of Afghan soldiers. Who have to give sexual favors in order to get the pension benefits.”
That would be a reference to the Afghan National Army, another one of the country’s US-subsidized security forces which just evaporated this week.
“Would any American put up with that?” the official asked. “So we’re trying to win the hearts and minds of the Afghan people. We first got to win the hearts and minds of the Afghan security forces.”