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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

Afghanistan:

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

Iraq:

  • 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

Updated 15 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Satellite imagery of the Northeastern U.S. taken by NOAA on Jan. 17. Photo: NOAA

A major winter storm lashed much of the East Coast Sunday and Monday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The latest: Authorities in North Carolina confirmed that two people died in a car crash and that they responded 600 vehicle accidents during the storm on Sunday, per the Washington Post.

3 hours ago - Health

CDC director says COVID-19 messaging should have been clearer

Rochelle Walensky. Photo: Stefani Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images

Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that the messaging around the COVID-19 pandemic and changing guidance should have been clearer.

State of play: Walensky is being coached by media experts and is planning to have more press briefings by herself in order to ensure that CDC is seen as an independent, scientific entity, rather than as a political one, the Journal reports.

3 hours ago - World

UAE asks U.S. to reinstate Houthi terrorist designation after attack

Secretary of State Tony Blinken (left) listens to United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan during a joint news conference at the State Department iin October. Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Emirati Foreign Minister Abdullah Bin Zayed asked Secretary of State Tony Blinken in a phone call Monday to re-designate the Houthi rebels in Yemen as a terrorist organization, a senior Emirati official told Axios.

Why it matters: Less than a month after he assumed office, President Biden rolled back the Trump administration’s decision to make the designation. He said it hampered humanitarian assistance to the Yemeni people. Since then, the Houthis have escalated their attacks against Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region — including an attack Monday in Abu Dhabi.