What Tom's Egg/Afghanistan Analogy In 'Succession' Means

Tom Wambsgans has had many interesting speeches over the course of Succession Season 3 (who could forget him telling Greg he'd "marry and castrate him in a heartbeat"?).

And Episode 6 saw him make another interesting analogy.

In "What It Takes", Tom (played by Mattew Macfadyen) takes Greg out for breakfast in the dead of night, as both men are worried about the prospect of going to prison for the cruise scandal, and are leaning on each other for support.

As Greg struggles with his eggs, Tom tells him that he has to tackle it "like Afghanistan," adding: "start at the center and make a base of operations and then move out to secure more territory."

The analogy appears to be a reference to the U.S. War in Afghanistan, which took place from 2001 until mid 2021.

What Does Tom's Egg/Afghanistan Analogy Mean?

The U.S. embarked on an international conflict in Afghanistan following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

President George W. Bush began the war in October 2001 to dismantle al-Qaeda, to catch al-Qaeda figures who were linked to 9/11, and also to oust the Taliban from Afghanistan.

U.S. and British war planes began targeting Taliban bases at the time, and helped support the country's Northern Alliance forces' fight against them.

Thanks to U.S. support the Northern Alliance were able to take back control of capital city Kabul and force the Taliban to retreat, and in December the Northern Alliance continued to bring about the end of Taliban power in cities like Kandahar and across the country.

In 2002, President George W. Bush introduced the second phase of the war in which U.S. troops helped to reconstruct Afghanistan, while war efforts also turned to Iraq.

The U.S. Invasion of Afghanistan lasted from 2001 to 2021, with the BBC reporting that troops reached a total of 110,000 peak in 2011.

Tom's analogy is a reference to how U.S. troops had a large base in Parwan at Bagram Airfield, and as operations were spread out across the country, the U.S. had multiple bases including one in Kandahar.

It was not only the U.S. who had troops in Afghanistan: British and Canadian troops were stationed in the South, and German and Italian troops were based in the North and West of the country.

In 2003, U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld declared that "major combat" had ended in Afghanistan, although troops remained to carry out President Bush's reconstruction plan.

The Taliban started a resurgence in 2005, and renewed the conflict with U.S. forces, and in 2009 President Barack Obama approved the deployment of more troops to Afghanistan to fight the Taliban, and he did so again in 2010.

As well as a surge in U.S. troops in Afghanistan, there was also an escalation in drone strikes in Pakistan by the U.S.

On May 1, 2011 al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces in Pakistan.

The U.S. and NATO's mission in Afghanistan ended formally on December 28, 2014, and a reduced force of 13,000 troops remained to help train Afghan soldiers.

President Joe Biden fully withdrew troops from Afghanistan on August 30, 2021, and just 15 days earlier the Afghan government had collapsed and the Taliban took over Kabul.

Succession airs every Sunday at 9 p.m. EST on HBO and HBO Max.

Succession season 3
Matthew Macfadyen and Nicholas Braun as Tom and Greg in "Succession", Tom made an analogy to Afghanistan while eating eggs with Greg. Macall B. Polay/HBO

Editor's pick

Newsweek cover
  • Newsweek magazine delivered to your door
  • Unlimited access to Newsweek.com
  • Ad free Newsweek.com experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts
Newsweek cover
  • Unlimited access to Newsweek.com
  • Ad free Newsweek.com experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts