As the U.S. proceeds with evacuating people from Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover of the country, we speak with author and former NPR reporter Sarah Chayes, who covered the fall of the Taliban in 2001, then lived in Kandahar until 2009, where she ran a soap factory, and went on to become a special adviser to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Mike Mullen in Kabul. She says it was apparent shortly after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan that the country was an “afterthought” for the Bush administration, which was “hell-bent” on invading Iraq.
“Well into 2002, there was basically no one home at the U.S. Embassy,” says Chayes. “It wasn’t until later that I realized that by early 2002, personnel were all pivoting already to Iraq.”
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