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The U.S. was supposed to leave Afghanistan by 2017. Now it might take decades.

Some officials hold out hope that a long-term military presence might be unnecessary, if hoped-for peace talks with the Taliban make progress. The Afghan government has asked Pakistan, home to many Taliban leaders, to push the militants into talks.

A generational U.S. footprint “doesn’t need to be the case,” said Jeff Eggers, a former senior White House official with long experience working on Afghanistan and Pakistan. “The Korea model is not necessary if the peace process moves forward — that’s the preferred path for all parties.”