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Hamid Karzai

The endless war

President Barack Obama was finally forced to bow to the inevitable today when he announced a halt to the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan and revised plans that will keep some 5,500 U.S. troops in the country even after his term ends in early 2017. For a president who came into office on a pledge to end the war in Afghanistan, today's admission that he won't be able to keep that promise must be counted as a significant foreign policy setback that could tarnish his legacy. At the same time, however, given the military and political realities on the ground in Afghanistan, it's hard to see how he had much choice in the matter.

It's no secret that the U.S. effort in Afghanistan...