The American withdrawal of military forces from Afghanistan marks a bad end to a bad policy, and even worse strategic thinking by the US and its principal allies.
Not that this will be the end of the story. Afghanistan once again becomes a roiling cockpit of rival factions, with none capable of a semblance of reasonable rule for the whole territory. “Taliban” is a portmanteau label of many causes, factions and clans.
The new round of fighting, which has started already, will provide further opportunity with subversive extreme elements seeking a global reach for their misdeeds and cockeyed view of the world. But it won’t be a story of history in discordant rhyme – the new forms of extremist groups, mutants from ISIS and its affiliates, will be more sophisticated in their methods and messaging than Osama bin Laden’s crew who set up shop in Kabul from 1996 to 2001.