Sunday marked 17 years of U.S. intervention in Afghanistan — with no end in sight. Just last week, a 23-year-old American serviceman was killed by an improvised explosive device in Helmand Province.

Expand chart
Note: Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn lasted March 2003 to December 2011. Operations against the Islamic State in Iraq officially resumed in 2014 under Operation Inherent Resolve; Data: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress and the National Archives; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

The big picture: No one believed the war would last this long when Operation Enduring Freedom began on October 7, 2001. Now, 17 years later, almost half of Americans believe the U.S. has "mostly failed."

The timeline


  • Operation Enduring Freedom: October 7, 2001, — December 28, 2014.
  • Operation Freedom's Sentinel: January 1, 2015 — current.


  • Operation Iraqi Freedom: March 19, 2003 — August 31, 2010.
  • Operation New Dawn: September 1, 2010 — December 15, 2011.
  • Operation Inherent Resolve: October 15, 2014 — current.
What they've said
  • President Obama said in 2014 that he planned to pull the last of U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2016.
  • President Trump admitted in 2017 that while his "original instinct was to pull out...[a] hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum that terrorists — including ISIS and al Qaeda — would instantly fill."

The bottom line: No one seems to want to stay in Afghanistan, but no one seems to know how to leave, either.

Editor's note: The graph was corrected to show the specific dates of the beginning and end of each conflict (the initial graph relied on Congressional Research Service material defining broader periods of war that determined eligibility of veterans' benefits).

Go deeper

As boycott grows, Facebook juggles rights groups and advertisers

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As an advertiser boycott of Facebook over its tolerance of hate speech continues to snowball, the company has begun making small, incremental changes to mollify activists while it tries to buy time to evolve its content policies.

Driving the news: Sources tell Axios that the product and policy changes sought by the #StopHateForProfit campaign were long under discussion both inside Facebook and with some external groups. Meanwhile, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has reportedly told employees that the boycotting advertisers will be back before long.

Replacing the nursing home

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Nursing homes have been the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, prompting more urgent discussions about alternative housing situations for elderly Americans.

Why it matters: Deaths in nursing homes and residential care facilities account for 45% of COVID-19 related deaths, per the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity — but there are few other viable housing options for seniors.

58 mins ago - Health

How Joe Biden would tackle the coronavirus

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

If Joe Biden wins in November, his coronavirus response would feature a no-expenses-spared federal approach to mitigating the virus and a beefed-up safety net for those suffering its economic consequences.

Why it matters: It’s nearly inevitable that the U.S. will still be dealing with the pandemic come January 2021, meaning voters in America will choose between two very different options for dealing with it.