podcast hack

20 Years in Afghanistan

Pod Save the World, Tommy Vietor, Ben Rhodes

5 mins

3 key insights

Visual, audio & text

In this August 2021 episode of the Pod Save the World podcast, Obama administration insiders explain the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the history of its failure to achieve its objectives in the country.


20 Years in Afghanistan

20 Years in Afghanistan

by Pod Save the World


In 2001, the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in pursuit of al-Qaeda and the Taliban government that harbored them. U.S. forces and allied Afghans rooted out the Taliban within weeks of the U.S. invasion and set up an interim government. In April 2021 – two decades after America invaded Afghanistan – President Biden announced plans to withdraw all U.S. troops from the country. Within just four months of U.S. troops leaving, the Taliban had swept back to power across most of Afghanistan and retaken Kabul, the capital. Afghan forces and the U.S.-backed government had collapsed.

Pod Save The World is a podcast on U.S. foreign policy, hosted by America's Obama-era National Security spokesperson Tommy Vietor, and Obama's former speechwriter and aide, Ben Rhodes. This August 2021 podcast was recorded days after the fall of Kabul. The hosts discuss the Afghan army's collapse, the failure to evacuate vulnerable Afghans, and historic U.S. missteps that originated during the Bush administration.

Favorite quote

Why does the United States of America have a foreign policy that has repeatedly led it to engage in wars in countries that we don't understand, that morph into nation-building exercises that fail?

- Ben Rhodes

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