For 10 years we have tried to combat poverty, corruption and state failure by birthing a strong Afghan government. Not an easy task in a country hard to govern from the centre, and where our favoured regime is an unloved kleptocracy.
As Canberra looks to extricate Australia from this long hard slog, it declares victory of sorts, presenting its phased withdrawal as a successful handover to indigenous security forces.
But Afghanistan is not the centre of this war. This is primarily a war over – and against – Pakistan.