Opinion

Why Leaving Afghanistan Was A Mistake


TL;DR (2-minute read)

  1. Biden has announced an end to the 2-decade long war in Afghanistan by withdrawing all/most American troops/ equipment from the nation.
  2. America intervened in Afghanistan for 3 goals: to prevent Afghanistan from being a future hub for terrorists, to deliver justice to the orchestrators of 9/11, and democratize Afghanistan by getting rid of the Taliban.
  3. So far, we have managed to achieve the first 2 goals, but in order to achieve the third goal, we must provide equipment and training to the Afghanistan people to make sure the 20-year long war wasn’t in vain

Ever since 9/11, America has been involved in the longest war it has ever participated in. For nearly 20 years, America has dumped trillions of dollars and thousands of troops into Afghanistan. It is one of the most controversial wars in America’s history. This is due to excessive costs, deployment of American troops, and certain actions by the American military. During 2021, however, Joe Biden has announced that he is planning the withdrawal of all American troops from Afghanistan, by August 31st. While this announcement has been received positively by a large portion of Americans, complete withdrawal would be disastrous for American foreign affairs and the nation of Afghanistan as a whole. 

Saul Loeb / AFP

The War in Afghanistan: Why it Started and How it’s Ending

The main goal of American intervention in Afghanistan was simple: to deliver justice to Osama Bin Laden and those who helped him orchestrate 9/11, replace the theocratic Taliban government with a democratic one, and prevent Afghanistan from being a platform for future terrorists. While the goals have been shifted or changed over time, these goals represented the initial mission of America and NATO allies. In 2001, the Taliban lost control of the Afghani government and in 2009, Afghanistan held its first democratic elections. While Osama Bin Laden was assassinated in 2011, the Taliban and Al-Qaeda were still active in the region. In 2014, America and NATO withdrew most troops and equipment. America also combatted different terrorist groups such as ISIS and managed to diminish their influence in the region. So if all the goals seem fulfilled, why is there any discussion whatsoever about us leaving?

Why We Are Not Yet Done in Afghanistan

President Joe Biden meets with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in the White House’s Oval Office on June 25, 2021 (Susan Walsh/AP)

While Osama Bin Laden, his fellow 9/11 orchestrators, and terrorist groups like ISIS may be dead in Afghanistan, the Taliban has become resurgent in the region due to American troop withdrawal during 2020/2021. In order to fully defeat the Taliban government and prevent future conflict in the region, it is necessary for us to provide vital air support as well as training to the Afghan National Army. This way, the people of Afghanistan can effectively combat the Taliban while also preventing the deaths of countless American troops. 

Sources

1.https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CHRG-111shrg55538/html/CHRG-111shrg55538.htm#:~:text=Preventing%20the%20return%20of%20the,very%20worthy%20of%20American%20effort.

2.https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/biden-put-america-first-exiting-afghanistan-he-just-can-t-n1273623

3.https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2021/07/08/remarks-by-president-biden-on-the-drawdown-of-u-s-forces-in-afghanistan/

4.https://www.foreignaffairs.com/anthologies/2021-05-14/americas-longest-war

5.https://www.voanews.com/south-central-asia/us-envoy-afghanistan-will-become-pariah-state-if-taliban-takes-country-force

6.https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/biden-military-withdrawal-afghanistan-conclude-aug-31/story?id=78729387

7.https://www.cfr.org/timeline/us-war-afghanistan

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