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Caspar Weinberger speaking with an elderly Afghan refugee in Pakistan in 1983. Then-U.S. Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger speaking with an elderly Afghan refugee during his visit to an Afghan refugee village in northwest Pakistan, Oct. 1, 1983 (AP photo by Moin Ban).

Afghanistan Is a Lesson in Humility

Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021

In October 1983, during a visit to New York City from West Africa, where I had recently begun a career as a foreign correspondent, I stood in my uncle’s kitchen and took in the evening news over a drink before dinner.

The main story that night was the visit by then-President Ronald Reagan’s secretary of defense, Caspar Weinberger, to Pakistan. Weinberger traveled to that country’s border with Afghanistan and there, at the Khyber Pass, vowed that U.S. support for Afghan insurgents would bring down the Soviet-backed government in power in Kabul at the time. ...

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