Final Engagement

A Marine's Last Mission and the Order to Abandon Afghanistan

Through his team’s deadly last showdown fighting alongside Afghan forces against the Taliban on the dangerous southern Helmand border, Marine Corps veteran Christopher Izant illustrates the impossible conditions and strategic blunders that disillusioned a generation of American veterans and all but guaranteed defeat. 

They were stepping into a world of hidden minefields, cultural clashes, “green-on-blue” insider attacks, and an ever-patient and relentless enemy. . . . But Christopher Izant and the Marines on his team volunteered to train the Afghan National Security Forces and fight the Taliban alongside them despite the risks and a seemingly futile mission they would term “advise and abandon,” made by policymakers a world away.

In Final Engagement, readers join then-Lieutenant Izant and the last team of Marine Corps combat advisors at Combat Outpost Taghaz in southern Helmand Province during Operation Enduring Freedom’s most crucial and challenging campaign to sustain the hard-won victories of the infantry units. It was 2012, and with base-closure and troop-withdrawal timelines foolhardily fixed by America’s top brass, the Marines had only six months to prepare the Afghan Border Police to stand on their own. But before Border Advisor Team 1 completely lay down arms, there would be one last deadly battle with a devastating aftermath.

After the fall of Kabul nearly a decade later, Final Engagement relives a clash in the Afghan borderlands that forbode the countrywide collapse to come. Senior military commanders claimed victory to Congress, the press, and to the American public while Izant and his fellow front-line warriors confronted understaffed and ill-equipped Afghan forces withering in the face of tribal infighting, incompetent leadership, and escalating Taliban attacks.

From foot patrols, deadly enemy engagements, and sinister insider attacks to meals and conversations with the men of the Afghan Border Police, Izant’s account confronts the gauntlet of violence and anguish that transformed a generation of American and Afghan warriors from idealist volunteers for a just war to disillusioned veterans of a lost cause.

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