what is happening in Afghanistan?
Why were the us there
Due to terror attacks in the U.S. after 9/11, President George H.W. Bush launched American troops to enter Afghanistan. Previous to this, the leader of the coalition against terrorist groups in Afghanistan was assassinated, potentially opening up the gate for the attacks. The U.S. launched an anti-terrorism fest against the Al-Qaeda and the Taliban who aided them but remained there for more than ten years, even after Osama bin Laden, the leader of those attacks, was assassinated. The main reason they decided to stay there was due to anti-terrorism goals.
Why did Biden decide to withdraw?
Trump had administered a deal with the Taliban agreeing to withdraw by the 1st of May. Biden also agreed that they should withdraw their troops because it was unnecessary and unwelcome. He wanted to withdraw on the anniversary of 9/11 this year and they started withdrawing in May. They believed the reasons for staying in Afghanistan were unclear. He says “the U.S. must shift its focus to target terrorism threats that have become more dispersed and metastasized around the world”. Compared to the beginning of the Trump administration with 15,500 troops, now less than 2,500 remain.
Backlash on Biden
Biden has taken the blame for the issue of American troops retreating from this decade long event. There was never a good time for the American troops to retreat, however at this time the retreat led to chaos. He still stands strong with his decision and is confident in his choice.
Why did the Afghan army give up so quick?
An issue with the Afghan army is that although they had the proper funds and tools, they lacked motivation. They were deemed to be lazy, but most importantly not passionate, allowing them to flee easily. The US had spent over 80 billion dollars on the Afghan army, however money proved not to own up to passion. After the Taliban gained support from Pakistan, China, Iran and Russia, consistent air strikes were launched, and the US backed out from Afghanistan, as well as the fact that they had no drive themselves. This led the Afghan troops to be left on their own and decided retreat would be the best solution.
The President flees Afghanistan
The Taliban launched into Afghanistan on August 15 and moved towards the capital to demand the central government surrender so that they could have the power. Due to this, the President fled the country and was spotted lately in the United Arab Emirates. Afghan forces had held control of all the key major cities and ports in Afghanistan forcing the Taliban into the hinterland. This allowed them to gain control there however and having control over the borders, they were able to sneak in weapons and tools to keep ready. They used the mountainous areas as the base of their attacks. When the US withdrew from Afghanistan, it was a catalyst for them to take action.
How were the Taliban able to take over
The catalyst for them taking over was the withdrawal of American groups. They had already built strong bases and prepared themselves for the attack when the time came. Due to gaining allies and power and the weakness of the Afghan forces, the Afghans fled quickly as well as the President opening the gate to power.
What the Taliban wants
In an interview with a Taliban representative,“Nobody will be harmed in Afghanistan,” he said. “Of course, there is a huge difference between us now and 20 years ago.” They even claim to uphold the rights of women, allowing female schools and reporters. They preach to return law and order and consider themselves “not only as defenders of Islam but as saviors of Afghanistan.” Many of the citizens have fled trying to find sanction in other countries.
What we should have done
There are many thoughts going around on what hours have been done but according to Biden, keeping the troops in Afghanistan was not the solution. The US had spent over a trillion dollars and several ten thousand Americans were injured or dead, so it did not make sense to send a fresh supply of troops. Some claim the US should not have gotten involved with external affairs however terrorism was effecting others as well. Potentially, a weaker time for the Taliban could have been one to withdraw at, but due to the constant stormy weather, it was hard to decide what to do when. The issue here is not the fact that we took our troops out, which was ultimately the correct decision, it’s that countries prioritized weapons and groups over global cooperation to try to solve this issue.