Afghanistan: Getting Out 14 August 2022: Episode 1 on BBC Two
When America finally withdrew its troops from Afghanistan in August 2021, it was the culmination of almost 20 years of attempts to end the war. This series charts the long and troubled story of how what started as an attempt to capture Osama Bin Laden ended up with four presidents trying to find a way to end a war that killed tens of thousands of people.
In this episode, the people at the heart of the decision making tell their own stories of President Obama’s efforts to get the troops out. We hear how Obama campaigned on a promise to bring American troops back home, but soon found himself embroiled in battles with his generals, who were convinced that it was actually more troops that were required to end the war.
Against the advice of his vice president, Joe Biden, Obama agreed to send more troops, but with a deadline for their withdrawal. Even then his generals weren’t happy, and a very public spat ended up in the removal of his star general, Stanley McCrystal, and the arrival of veteran Iraq commander General David Petreaus.
Together with British troops under General Nick Carter, new offensives were launched, only to be undermined by corruption within the Afghan government. By the time Obama left office, the American troops were no closer to being out of Afghanistan.
Interviewees including General David Petraeus, secretary of defense Robert Gates, General Sir Nick Carter and prime minister David Cameron give the Allies’ perspective, while senior figures from the Afghan government and Taliban offer the view from the Afghan side. They chart a tale of political pressures and rival factions at the highest levels of government that helped seal the fate of Afghanistan.
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About Afghanistan: Getting Out
This show is broadcast on BBC Two, also known as the British Broadcasting Corporation.