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US expert describes events in Afghanistan as major defeat for his country

Michael O’Hanlon noted that the United States and allies still remained very unified and powerful on most key strategic issues

WASHINGTON, August 16. /TASS/. The latest developments in Afghanistan have become a major defeat for the United States, but it will not affect the unity of Washington and its allies on key issues, a US expert has told TASS.

"This is indeed a major defeat for the United States and allies," said Michael O’Hanlon, Senior Fellow and Director of Research of the Foreign Policy Program of the Brookings Institution.

"What will this mean for the US reputation? Well, many had already concluded we had failed, and many are glad to see us fail," he continued. "Americans have already felt less confident about US foreign policy since perhaps 2004 <…> but this will help ensure we don’t feel overconfident in the future. But it also won’t change the fact that the United States and allies remain very unified and powerful on most key strategic issues."

Speaking about possible consequences for counterterrorism policy in the region and worldwide, Hanlon said: "My instinct is that we will be able to contain the damage here, using other tools of intelligence gathering and the threat of striking at the Taliban if they tolerate/condone/support terrorists on Afghan territory."

On April 14, US President Joe Biden declared his decision to curtail the operation in Afghanistan, which has turned out to be the longest foreign military campaign in US history. In the meantime, the security situation in the country deteriorated, as militants of the radical movement Taliban (outlawed in Russia) stepped up offensive operations on a number of fronts.

Taliban forces entered Afghanistan’s capital Kabul on Sunday, meeting no resistance, and started to take control of governmental offices and police stations, abandoned by pro-government forces. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has left the country, and, according to latest reports, arrived in Uzbekistan. Later, the Taliban announced it had gained control over all districts of the Afghan capital.