Magazine
Latest Issue

Afghanistan: How not to end a war

President Medvedev has offered to help the west's faltering Afghan campaign—but both parties must heed the lessons from the Soviet army’s disastrous withdrawal in the 1980s

By Victor Sebestyen   November 2010

Crushed ambitions: Gorbachev failed to find a dignified exit from Afghanistan, to his cost

At his desk, the leader sat reading letters from mothers whose sons had been killed fighting in Afghanistan. They put him in a determined mood as he walked to the cabinet room. “We’ve been fighting for years now and if we don’t change our approach we’ll be there another 20 or 30,” he told his generals and colleagues. “We have not learned how to wage war there. We had a clearly defined goal: to get a friendly regime in Afghanistan. But now… we must end this…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with our newsletter, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to letters@prospect-magazine.co.uk

More From Prospect