The war in Afghanistan lasted almost twelve years, took over 2,100 US military lives alone, wounded almost 19,000 more, cost over 630 billion US dollars, and mobilized a massive multi-national coalition force dedicated to establishing a secure and stable future for a region torn apart by decades of conflict and war.

A few days ago in Qatar, those sacrifices were called into question as US officials struggled to maintain control over the factors determining Afghanistan’s future, namely the Taliban, the Karzai administration, and other competing US interests in the region.

Current events last week ended with the opening of a Taliban office in Qatar, the withdrawal of the Afghan government from the anticipated Bilateral Security Agreement peace talks, and a portrayal of US foreign policy in Afghanistan as reactive and counterproductive in the context of fostering a strong relationship with the Afghan government and securing its successful future with minimal US or NATO support.

Among the problems that forecast less-than-ideal results for short-term US policy goals in Afghanistan are peace talks with an active insurgent group, poor communication with the legitimate Afghan government figureheads, and ambiguous political terminology.