All U.S. combat troops are set to leave Afghanistan by year's end
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America’s longest war will finally end this year, when the last of the U.S. combat troops who stormed into Afghanistan in 2001 withdraw by Dec. 31. While that will be cause for relief in the U.S., Afghanistan is bracing for possible disaster. What happens over the next 12 months could determine whether that ill-fated country limps toward stability or plunges into even greater violence.
Afghanistan has paid dearly for more than a decade of war but is better off in many ways. Al-Qaeda is gone, the Taliban control little territory, millions of girls are attending school, and such metrics as cell-phone access and public health have soared.