Introduction By early 2009, the public in Europe and North America had grown accustomed to bad news from Afghanistan and had come to expect a long conflict there; European and American generals made the point clear in numerous statements, sometimes going as far as saying that 20 years or so might be necessary to defeat the Taliban insurgency. The initial incredulity over how a ragtag band of ‘medieval’ guerrillas could hold out against the world’s most powerful military alliance, NATO, dissipated without the puzzling development being adequately explained. This chapter asks how Afghanistan turned into a major crisis for the US and its European allies, focussing in particular on whether or not this was due to a new character of war in post-2001 Afghanistan.