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In all of them, Americans soon began to ask, "How quickly can you withdraw?" In three of these conflicts, he says, the United States withdrew its forces unilaterally. One place to learn some lessons might be from a strategy that has been relatively successful – the war against Al-Qaeda. After 9/11, officials and experts spoke of Al-Qaeda with the awe and fear they now reserve for ISIS. Once the U.S. and its allies began battling the group, it inspired or directed several attacks across the globe, including the bloodiest in the West since 9/11, the Madrid train bombings, which killed 191 people. What explains the success against Al-Qaeda? This is why from the start, ISIS has sought to bait Western countries into sending troops to Syria.In this sense, ISIS is more akin to the Taliban than to Al-Qaeda, which was a gang of foreigners lodged in Afghanistan as guests of the Taliban.This explains why the U.S. has not defeated it, after 14 years of warfare and tens of thousands of American soldiers and now many more Afghan troops.
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