A Postmortem on US Involvement in Afghanistan with Prof. Thomas Johnson – Luncheon Lecture February 25, 2022


Prof. Thomas H. Johnson

Research professor in the National Security Affairs department and Director of the Program for Culture & Conflict Studies at the Naval Postgraduate School

After his luncheon talk in January was canceled due to the omicron variant, Professor Thomas Johnson of the Naval Postgraduate School has graciously agreed to reschedule that talk to February. Thank you, Professor Johnson, for your flexibility!


A Postmortem on US Involvement in Afghanistan


After the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979 to prop up the communist government in Kabul, the United States provided support to Afghan insurgents in their fight against the Soviets. In 2001, following the attacks of September 11, the United States and NATO invaded Afghanistan to evict the Taliban regime, which had given al-Qaeda safe haven in which to plan and train for 9/11. The war that was triggered by that invasion lasted for two decades, costing over $1 trillion and the lives of more than 3,500 US and allied soldiers. The spectacle of the hasty withdrawal of US troops this past summer, and the Taliban’s rapid return to power, have raised many questions about what went wrong with US policies toward Afghanistan.

In his talk, Professor Johnson will focus on a variety of cultural, political, governmental, and ethnic reasons to address why the United States was not successful in Afghanistan. He will discuss the lack of a coherent strategy and the poor choice of tactics that were used to fight this type of insurgency.

Thomas H. Johnson is a research professor in the National Security Affairs department at NPS, and the Director of the Program for Culture & Conflict Studies. For three decades, he has conducted research and written about Afghanistan and South Asia. He is the author of the best-selling book, Taliban Narratives: The Use and Power of Stories in the Afghanistan Conflict (Oxford University Press, 2018), and has recently updated and expanded Ludwig Adamec’s seminal book The Historical Dictionary of Afghanistan. He has published numerous scholarly articles, and has contributed to many news outlets, from National Public Radio to the Wall Street Journal. Professor Johnson holds an MA from USC and was awarded the Charles E. Merriam Award for Outstanding Public Policy Research from the University of Illinois.

Important: You Must Provide Proof of Full Covid-19 Vaccination in Order to Attend Luncheons

In order to maximize health precautions and protect our members, all those attending the luncheon in January (and future luncheons, at least for the time being) must show proof of full Covid-19 vaccination, including a booster.

Please come prepared to show either your vaccination card, a picture of your vaccination card, or your State of California QR code that proves vaccination status. We recommend arriving at least fifteen minutes earlier than you normally would so that we may seamlessly carry out the task of verifying vaccination status and checking you in at the reception table.

There will be no exceptions to the proof-of-vaccination rule. Thank you for your patience and consideration as we break bread together for the first time in nearly two years. We look forward to seeing you there!


  • Friday, February 25, 2022
  • 11:00 am: Registration
  • 11:50 am: Luncheon
  • 12:50 pm: Program

Luncheon Menu

  • Asian Salad with Oranges, Almonds, and Sesame Dressing
  • Teriyaki Glazed Salmon with Mango Cucumber Salsa
  • Coconut Rice
  • Seasonal Vegetables
  • Fresh Bread and Butter
  • Sweet Mango Cheesecake
  • Coffee and Decaf
  • Vegetarian Option: Grilled Sweet Potato “Steaks” with Mango Cucumber Salsa

Luncheon Cost

  • $36 for members
  • $42 for guests


Please note that this program will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn, Monterey.  Room capacity is limited. Reservations will be accepted in the order they are received until the program is full. Due to limited capacity, we are unable to accommodate auditors at this event.

Reservations are due by February 21 for this February 25 event.

Registration for the luncheon is now closed.

Refunds are not available after the due date listed above.


Hilton Garden Inn, Monterey
1000 Aguajito Road
Monterey, CA 93923

Property and Parking Map

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