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Violence continues in Afghanistan, where there have been nearly 80 attacks in the days following the signing of a U.S.-Taliban peace deal late last month. According to Washington Post reporter Craig Whitlock, this is just the latest development in almost two decades of “fuzzy” U.S. aims in the country, which have at times seemed deeply contradictory. “We sent 100,000 troops as part of a surge under Obama,” says Whitlock, the journalist behind the recently published Afghanistan Papers. “Simultaneously, we spend billions and billions of dollars in a really short amount of time trying to build up the Afghan government.” At other critical points, U.S. strategy has seemingly only made matters worse, especially regarding the illicit production and trade of opium in the country, which has increased fourfold since the start of the war despite the U.S. spending $8 billion trying to combat it.

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