US troop withdrawal leaves Afghanistan in ruin

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Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Andrew Thompson

On Aug. 15, 2021, Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, fell to the Taliban. This came after the United States announced their troop withdrawal. I believe that we must recognize this event as a global disaster and that we must come together regardless of party affiliation to condemn the President’s response to it.

Determined to end the war, newly elected President Joe Biden declared that the U.S. would fully withdraw our troops by Sept. 11, 2021. Although this decision was well-intentioned, the Biden administration’s execution of it later proved to be a disaster.

Rep. Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said “the chaos which was caused by the withdrawal of the U.S. troops from the region is an unmitigated disaster of epic proportions.” I agree with his assertion.

President Biden’s decision left American citizens stranded in Afghanistan. Although the evacuation effort led to the successful escape of most Americans, the administration estimates that 100 to 200 Americans are still stranded in the country because U.S. forces were unable to evacuate all Americans by the withdrawal deadline. Rep. McCaul accused the Taliban of keeping six planes with the U.S. citizens hostage. This administration’s actions rejected the sacred military commitment to leave no one behind.

After the Taliban shocked the world with its swift takeover, Suhail Shaheen, the spokesman for the organization, called for the creation of an “open, inclusive Islamic government.”

President Biden’s decision allowed an authoritarian government to seize control in Afghanistan, resulting in a humanitarian crisis. The lives of minority groups, women and LGBTQ+ Afghans are at risk as the Taliban could reinstate their strict rules. Members of the group have even already raped and killed gay men, according to Business Insider. 

The Taliban, meaning students in Pashto, is an Islamist group, which led Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 as the Islamic emirate.

During their reign, the Taliban committed multiple human rights violations such as public executions and amputations. The group also attacked minorities, outlawed the education and employment of women, supported the global terrorist organization Al Qaeda and required women to be fully covered and in the presence of a man in order to be outside.

When the Taliban refused to hand over Osama bin Laden in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, President George W. Bush declared Operation Enduring Freedom, a global war on terrorism to find Osama bin Laden. 

Although the Taliban government collapsed as a result of the war, President Bush announced that U.S. troops would remain in the region to fight against Taliban insurgents while assisting in the reconstruction of Afghanistan.

On May 1, 2011, U.S. forces found and killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, thereby achieving the initial objective of the operation. Nonetheless, the war continued until Biden’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops. 

In order to evacuate Americans, the U.S. the military seized control of Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. However, chaos ensued and 13 U.S. service members were killed in a bomb attack by ISIS-K.

Biden’s handling of the troop withdrawal process represented a significant failure in U.S. foreign policy because it rejected the principles of leaving no one behind and the spread of our values around the world. Although most Americans opposed the war in Afghanistan, a Marist National poll shows 61 percent of Americans disapprove how Biden handled the withdrawal. This significant statistic in itself demonstrates how the event is a devastating disaster.

 

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