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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).

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Updated 58 mins ago - World

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Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor of Arkansas

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Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will announce Monday that she's running for governor of Arkansas.

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

History will likely remember the pandemic as the "first time since records began that inequality rose in virtually every country on earth at the same time." That's the verdict from Oxfam's inequality report covering the year 2020 — a terrible year that hit the poorest, hardest across the planet.

Why it matters: The world's poorest were already in a race against time, facing down an existential risk in the form of global climate change. The coronavirus pandemic could set global poverty reduction back as much as a full decade, according to the World Bank.