After more than 16 years of war, Afghan civilians live each day under constant threat, as U.S. forces and the Afghan government struggle to secure the country.
Despite hundreds of billions of dollars spent on the war since 2001, U.S. goals are far from within reach. Meanwhile, the Taliban has never been stronger, controlling more land than ever before and establishing footholds in nearly every province in Afghanistan.
President Donald Trump has vowed to undo some of the terror group’s grip on the country and force it back to the negotiating table. But his new strategy, which centers on thousands of additional U.S. troops and an intensification of airstrikes, has only just begun to produce gains.
The Taliban, facing renewed pressure, have increased terror attacks on major cities, striking at the heart of Kabul recently, in a series of devastating attacks that left hundreds of civilians dead in the span of a week.
VICE’s Ben Anderson travelled to Afghanistan in October 2016 as the Taliban were on the verge of retaking Helmand Province, once a crucial territory in the U.S. war. Reconnecting with families he’d visited years earlier, he saw just how little has been done to contain the Taliban’s influence across the country’s rural landscape, and the challenges that await Afghan and U.S. forces.
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