Finding answers in the aftermath of the Afghanistan War

The Afghanistan War Commission wants answers.

On this week’s episode of The American Legion Tango Alpha Lima podcast, Afghanistan War Commission Executive Director Jaime Cheshire discusses the commission’s role, how veterans can help get answers to policy decisions made during the 20-year war and more. 

Cheshire served for 17 years on Capitol Hill including eight years as a professional staff member and senior adviser to the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. In this role, she conducted six oversight trips into Afghanistan. 

In August 2021, she was on sabbatical, solo hiking the Appalachian Trail in Maine, when news broke of the fall of Kabul. “It was shocking and I felt quite helpless after everything people had done, contributing to that mission, without the ability to help our Afghan friends and allies,” she recalls.  

Cheshire became executive director last July. The Afghanistan War Commission has 16 bipartisan commissioners who are appointed. They are charged with “answering the American public’s questions” about the fall of Afghanistan, and the events throughout the 20-year war.

The commission will release a report in 2026 that looks at various elements throughout the war, including the early decision not to pursue Osama bin Laden in Tora Bora. “It will look at all those inflection points and show what was going on behind the scenes and what went into those inflection points and decisions,” she explains.  

The goal is to use the commission’s findings on the successes and failures for use by future administrations and Congress to make informed decisions on conflicts that arise.

“We’re deeply grateful to the Legion for their support in the creation of the commission,” she says, referring specifically to Resolution 12 passed in 2023. “The way the Legion’s resolution emphasized the service as well as the importance of the review was really critical. Eight hundred thousand U.S. servicemembers did their job in Afghanistan and they deserve answers to why the ultimate outcome was not what we wanted. The Legion’s support is really critical to make sure people respond and answer questions when the commission comes asking questions about the decisions that were made.” 

Cheshire invited co-hosts Stacy Pearsall, Adam Marr and Joe Worley to share their questions for the commission. Tune in to hear what they want to know. 

And you can join the conversation. Cheshire encouraged veterans to pose questions for the commission to address and also to share their experiences during the war. 

Visit this web page to ask your questions.

Also in this episode Pearsall, Marr and Worley discuss:

• A unique, top secret military unit.

• Why the Military Women’s Memorial needs your help.

• Weird graffiti and other findings in portable toilets.

• A Bravo Zulu for an American Legion post’s support for Children & Youth Month. 

Check out this week’s episode, which is among more than 230 Tango Alpha Lima podcasts available in both audio and video formats here. You can also download episodes on Apple Podcasts, Google Play or other major podcast-hosting sites. The video version is available at the Legion’s YouTube channel.