Margolis has an article here on the NATO mission in Afghanistan. He begins by citing the dictum of the U.S. philosopher Santayana who said that those who forget history are condemned to repeat it. He thinks that the NATO mission in Afghanistan illustrates this well.
Margolis also includes a famous painting by Lady Elizabeth Butler called the retreat from Kabul. The painting shows the sole survivor out of 16,500 of the British Occupation Force alone on his horse outside of Kabul. This was in 1842.
Of course the NATO forces will not encounter a situation such as that but Margolis point still stands that Afghanistan is the graveyard of empires. The Soviet Union too met disaster in Afghanistan but aided by Western support for the same jihadists who are not targets in the war against terror.
Margolis holds that NATO has met neither its military nor political objectives in Afghanistan and is now in full retreat. The much vaunted transition Margolis says cannot hide the fact that again what he calls mountain warriors from the 12th century have defeated the U.S. and its western allies.
While Margolis has a point this is only part of the story. After all the U.S. has an agreement to keep troops in Afghanistan for another decade and the west is going to spend billions each year on supporting the Afghan military. What is happening is a tactical retreat from very costly and politically unpopular intervention to a much reduced mode of military operations that will still include special forces, air cover, and drone strikes. This is much more palatable to the U.S. public and that is what counts especially in an election year. The retreat will be hailed as keeping promises and ending an unpopular war. For much more see the full article.