By Quentin Choy
The scenes in Afghanistan are chilling. As the Taliban slowly conquered regions over the last few weeks, their march on Kabul was imminent.
President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan was the correct decision in the long-term, but the devastating short-term consequences we are seeing are haunting.
Following two decades of war in Afghanistan, the U.S is ending the longest war in its history with very little to show for it.
“Our mission in Afghanistan was never supposed to have been nation building. It was never supposed to be creating a unified, centralized democracy. Our only vital national interest in Afghanistan remains today what it has always been: preventing a terrorist attack on American homeland.”President Joe Biden
The Taliban have defeated the Afghan military who were trained and funded by the United States. With about 300,000 people serving in the Afghan army, such losses against the much smaller Taliban forces shows a failure in Afghan governance despite American support.
The president of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani fled the country, and he admitted defeat to the Taliban.
“In order to avoid the bleeding flood, I thought it best to get out. Taliban have won the judgement of sword and guns and now they are responsible for protecting the countrymen’s honor, wealth and self esteem.”President Ashraf Ghani
Over $2 trillion was spent by the United States in the war, and there were “2,500 U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan and nearly 4,000 more U.S. civilian contractors killed” according to Forbes.
While the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan was a good one, the way it was executed was messy. Quick evacuations from American embassies, the fleeing of Ashraf Ghani, abandonment of American bases without coordination with the Afghan military, and failed combat training of Afghan troops made the Taliban takeover seemingly inevitable.
“American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves. We spent over a trillion dollars. We trained and equipped an Afghan military force of some 300,000 strong — incredibly well equipped — a force larger in size than the militaries of many of our NATO allies. We gave them every tool they could need.”President Joe Biden
If after 20 years of support and training by the United States couldn’t prepare the Afghan military to fight the Taliban, then a Taliban takeover seemed to be inevitable no matter when the United States decided to withdraw.
The horrific scenes of Afghans fleeing Kabul on runways are tragic, and the United States can continue to support Afghanistan from afar whether through diplomatic means.
However, the objectives of the Afghanistan War have already been achieved by the United States, and the resurgence of the Taliban is not an issue that the United States needs to deal with militarily.
The Taliban’s rise is an internal issue within Afghanistan, and the Afghan government failed to prepare for it, despite support from the United States.
Maintaining a presence of American troops will only continue to see more loss of life. The Taliban is stronger today than they were before the start of the Afghanistan War.
“And here’s what I believe to my core: It is wrong to order American troops to step up when Afghanistan’s own armed forces would not.”President Joe Biden
Calls for the Biden administration to rescue translators and Afghans who supported the United States during the war are justified, and these people should be saved and brought to the United States for their service.
Failure to rescue those who helped us would be one of the worst stains on Biden’s record in regards to his conclusion of this war.
President Biden maintained that the decision to leave Afghanistan was the correct one, and while this is true, many things were left unaddressed, leading to the messy, jumbled, and violent conclusion of America’s longest war.
The road ahead for Afghanistan looks terribly dark, and I hope the United States can find new ways to support Afghanistan aside from military presence.Follow WeTheCommoners Blog on WordPress.com