The problem is Sunni Islamic radical insurgency. When the Taliban were in charge, America was attacked by terrorists based in that country.
How many Taliban are there? In 2012, the estimate was 35,000 Afghan Taliban fighters then operating. In 15 years they persist as a menace to the Afghan government. Why is this?
According to one source, the estimated population was reduced to 25,000-30,000 in 2014.
"According to a recent report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the Western-backed Afghan government has lost control of nearly 5 percent of its territory to the Taliban since the beginning of this year.
The report says the area under Afghan government "control or influence" decreased to 65.6 percent by the end of May from 70.5 percent last year, based on data provided by US forces in Afghanistan.
That amounts to a loss of 19 of the country's approximately 400 governing districts.
However, the commander of US forces in Afghanistan, Army General John Nicholson, said the Taliban presence is mostly in rural areas."
"The Taliban (Pashto: طالبان ṭālibān "students"), alternatively spelled Taleban, which recently changed their name and identity to Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), is a Sunni Islamic fundamentalist political movement in Afghanistan currently waging war (an insurgency, or jihad) within that country."
"We spent billions of dollars. We've lost thousands of American lives. We've been engaged in this war for over 15 years. And we are still struggling to determine how it can end favorably for the best interest of the United States and the Afghan people," said the Senate's second-highest-ranking Democrat Dick Durbin (Ill.).
The Hill Overnight DefenseThe trouble is that the Afghan Government lacks the strength and integrity to eliminate and neutralize the Taliban problem that must come from a combination of education, economic development, police and military investments. That is nothing short of nation building.
Just as the lesson in China should have told us, we cannot defeat rural people by hunkering in urban areas without direct and comprehensive invasion and intervention. That must come from the Afghan people and their government and not from the US Military.