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[Bookmark] In Remaking Afghanistan, Don’t Look for Lessons from Postwar Japan

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Bookmark is a JAPAN Forward feature that gives you long reads for the weekend. Each edition introduces one overarching thought that branches off to a wide variety of themes. Our hope is for readers to find new depths and perspectives to explore and enjoy.

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On August 31, 2021, the United States of America ended its near-20-year tenure of nation building within Afghanistan. The final withdrawal was carried out from the capital Kabul while under Taliban control, as the United States’ sponsored Afghan administration was unable to even survive the departure of the final American troops. 

The following day, U.S. President Jose Biden cemented the well-known reputation of Afghanistan as the graveyard of empires by announcing that the era of nation building by the U.S. was over. 

American nation building within Afghanistan was an outgrowth of the counter-terrorism operation to eliminate the threat of the Osama Bin Laden-led…

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