John Allen’s war officially ended in 2002, only months after it began, when an enemy grenade blast sent the young Green Beret hurtling through a windshield.
Fifteen years later, he’s still in Afghanistan, holed up in a friend’s attic with a whiskey bottle and a piano for company. Mr. Allen is hoping to ride out the latest controversy surrounding his private security firm, which flared up when Afghan militiamen he was advising cut off the heads of four enemy fighters and put them on display.
The former Green Beret was helping mobilize the militia to target and kill commanders from the terrorist group Islamic State. At the time of the beheadings, in late 2015, a U.S. Special Forces team based in Nangarhar province was assisting Mr. Allen in his efforts.