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The Afghanistan War Is Ending. A Pennsylvania Town Exhales.

  • April 17, 2021

Doug Scott, 44, a veteran of three tours in Iraq, agreed that American troops were unlikely to change illiberal attitudes and ethnic animosities that have produced generations of conflict in Afghanistan. But he argued that the United States should keep its footprint in the country for an inevitable flare-up.

“A total withdrawal would be catastrophic,” he said.

Not everyone on Pike Street was aware of the president’s decision to leave Afghanistan, a reflection of how the drawn-out conflict, with relatively low American casualties, has dropped from the headlines. Just 12 percent of Americans told an Associated Press/NORC poll last year that they closely followed events in the war.

Katherine Roddy, a mother of two young children, said she was unaware of the announced withdrawal when she came to her door. She and her husband, an academic, had lived in Egypt while he studied Arabic, and she sympathized with the plight of women in Muslim countries, but said it was time to depart Afghanistan.

“I’ve heard that the social situation in Afghanistan is devastating,” she said. “It’s hard to leave it that way, but I think it’s probably time.”

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