Afghanistan: What is Winning?
Sixteen years...that's how long the United States has been at war in Afghanistan, making it the longest conflict in our nation's history.
Author: Michael Anthony Adams
Published: 9:19 AM PST February 12, 2018
Updated: 11:08 AM PST January 17, 2019
ABC10-ORIGINALS 5 Articles

Afghanistan: What is Winning?

Chapter 1

Afghanistan War: 16 Years of Fighting | Part 1

Sixteen years.

That’s how long the United States has been at war in Afghanistan, making it the longest conflict in our nation’s history.

The war has spanned three administrations and cost hundreds of billions of dollars, but the real price has been paid in blood.

More than 2,400 U.S. service members have been killed since President Bush declared a War on Terror. By September 2018, kids born the day the Twin Towers fell could be boarding a plane to go fight in a war they weren't old enough to remember starting.

So how many years does it take? How many bombs need to be dropped and bullets chambered to declare victory?

To see firsthand how the Trump administration’s new path forward is playing out in Afghanistan, ABC10 embedded with conventional and special forces units around Afghanistan, seeking the answer to one question: What does winning look like?

Chapter 2

Afghanistan War: Air Power | Part 2

As President Obama began a draw down of U.S. troops in Afghanistan in 2011, U.S. support shifted from combat operations to a Train, Advise and Assist mission. One of the military’s main focuses was to bolster the Afghan Air Force to ensure that, if the U.S. were to withdraw its air power, the Afghans could continue to have the edge against their enemies.

Military officials tout the claim that the Afghan government controls roughly two-thirds of the country, yet, unlike the progress made by the Marines in Helmand, watchdog groups say Afghan forces are suffering unsustainable casualty rates while Taliban insurgents and operate in much of the country.

After more than seven years of building up the Afghan Air Force, ABC10 wanted to see the progress that’s been made. We were granted access with the Special Missions Wing, Afghanistan’s only Special Forces Aviation unit.

Chapter 3

Afghanistan War: Marines Battle in Helmand | Part 3

When the United States Marine Corps first returned to Helmand Province in April 2017, they faced a Taliban insurgency that had overwhelmed the Afghan forces the United States left behind following the 2014 draw down.

The security situation in Helmand — the Taliban’s stronghold — deteriorated significantly, according to military officials, and the ground won by the Marines in the years before President Obama announced their withdraw had been retaken by the Taliban.

To get a better understanding of what the Marines were up against when they returned to the province, and how the situation evolved in the months since President Trump announced a troop surge as part of his new South Asia strategy, ABC10’s Michael Anthony Adams embedded with 1st Battalion, 6th Marines at Camp Shorab, a small outpost next to the Afghan National Army’s 215th Corps base.

Chapter 4

Afghanistan War: The Ultimate Sacrifice | Part 4

More than 2,400 U.S. service members have been killed in Afghanistan since President George W. Bush declared a war on terror, and that number continues to climb.

According to the most recent Pentagon data, more than half of all U.S. troops killed or wounded in the country have been victims of improvised explosive devices.

Michael Anthony Adams sat down with two Gold Star parents who both lost sons in the war to learn more about why their sons chose to serve and their thoughts on our nation’s longest war.

Chapter 5

Afghanistan War: By the numbers