06/16/2014 - The pretext of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001 was the September 11 attacks. Washington announced it was pursuing Osama bin Laden. But very quickly the Bush administration changed its objective to include the overthrow of the Taliban regime in Kabul. That mission switch precipitated the longest war in U.S. history. Washington and its NATO allies have said they are withdrawing their forces at the end of 2014. But it seems almost certain that U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan. The new Afghan president, who will take office in late July, has indicated he will sign the already negotiated bi-lateral security agreement which provides for continued American military presence. Waste, fraud and corruption accompany all wars. In Afghanistan, billions of dollars have gone missing. Drug trafficking is back. And the countless Afghan dead? A price they had to pay.