The US withdrawal from Afghanistan: long overdue or a grave mistake?

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Earlier this month, President Biden announced that the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan will be complete by 31 August — though, in truth, most troops had already left the country at that point, ending a two-decade-long mission.

The announcement was met with praise by many on the left as well as some anti-interventionist sections of the right, and numerous arguments have been made in favour of the decision.

The most common argument — one that Mr Biden often likes to make — is that the intervention has already cost the United States too many lives (namely 2,300) and too much money (almost $2 trillion). In a way, this point is quite difficult to argue with, as it really is impossible to deny that the costs of the war have been too high in return for so little.  

The intervention has already cost the United States too many lives

However, is it not the case that the United States has certain responsibilities — namely, to help maintain order and stability in regions which cannot afford to do it on their own? After all, if America were always guided by material, self-interested considerations, it is unlikely that IS would ever have been defeated, for example.

On the other, anti-withdrawal side of the argument, many experienced politicians and military commanders expressed grave concerns about Mr Biden’s plans, with former president George W. Bush saying that the consequences “are going to be unbelievably bad” — and it is not at all hard to see why.

The current Afghan government is incredibly fragile, and its control of the country is threatened

First and foremost, American troops have been stationed in Afghanistan for a reason. The current Afghan government is incredibly fragile, and its control of the country is threatened by a terrorist organisation known as the Taliban. The Taliban are radical Islamists, and values such as gender equality, religious freedom and democracy are simply unknown to them.

Since the beginning of the American withdrawal, they have made significant advances, and it is now feared that without major support they could overwhelm the US-backed government’s forces and take outright control of the country.

The consequences of a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan would be disastrous. Women would become second-class citizens, and anyone who disagrees with the Taliban’s interpretation of Sharia law would be persecuted. Any hope of a truly free Afghanistan would be dashed, years of progress reversed — two decades of military intervention quite simply wasted.

A Taliban takeover would almost inevitably lead to a refugee crisis

Now, those are just the domestic consequences that the people of Afghanistan would face, while the broader ramifications could be much more wide-ranging. A Taliban takeover would almost inevitably lead to a refugee crisis — like scenes of people queuing at the passport offices of Kabul already demonstrate — and it is highly questionable whether European nations can absorb such a crisis at the moment.

An inability to deal with it could quite conceivably fuel the popularity of hard-right, anti-immigrant parties across the Continent and in the UK — which is exactly what happened after the Syrian refugee crisis, with some countries still governed by borderline far-right parties.

In essence, the risks of withdrawing troops from Afghanistan now are simply too high. The Taliban are too strong, the Afghan government is too weak, and the potential consequences of a defeat of the latter by the former could be catastrophic. The wise decision would be to hold on tight and wait until the situation is more favourable — alas, there is little hope of Mr Biden choosing that course of action now.

Image: DVIDSHUB by Creative Commons.

One thought on “The US withdrawal from Afghanistan: long overdue or a grave mistake?

  • Y does the US leave a trail of destruction,wherever it goes – PEOPLE ASK ?

    US enters a nation, when it seeks decisive results, and in an emergency or an urgency !

    So the 1st thing it needs to do, is to build, breed and maintain, a loyal force, of local military, politicians and bureaucrats

    For that, these 3 targets have to ADOPT the ideology, of the US -which starts with educating these 3 targets and their kids in the US and employing their kids in the US.

    Thence, comes in the money to co-opt these 3 targets – by salaries,aid and infra projects – wherein the aid and infra projects are given to cronies of these 3 targets, to pay off the 3 musketeers ! This is THE GENESIS OF CORRUPTION !

    It is a valid tactic used by the US,as it compromises the 3 targets,and the US,in turn, protects them

    These 3 targets then spread the US ideology, to the masses and some bite – BUT MANY DO NOT – as there is NOT enough money to go around, and also that,some people, JUST DO NOT WANT ANY IDEOLOGICAL CHANGE – It is the comfort, with the OLD – especially when the US is involved.

    It is a fact that from the time of the Greeks and Romans – NO ONE LIKES A SUPERPOWER.It is a deep rooted inferiority complex of the invaded nation – and so,there are many who will not buy into the US ideology and way of life – even if paid off.In the history of the world, there has never been a power like the US.Some empires have lasted much longer – like the Ottomans – but the scale of US military and economic power,in the last few decades,has no parallel in history – UNTIL 2021 !

    Then as time passes,the majority are cut off the quasi American elite – and the seeds of permanent war are sown – and that makes the incumbent regime,a US puppet.

    In a few years,some local or global power supports the masses (Communists/Socialists/Rival Nations and militias – and you have TOTAL WAR !

    The war is fought by and among locals, with US strategy and tech, and some US lives.

    The Host Country is annihilated, and the regime exits and CHAOS resides.

    It is the same movie – BUT THAT IS THE WAY THE DIRECTOR WANTED IT ! THE DIRECTOR = USA !

    The target nation is doomed,and will always be a US puppet,and the regime which exited, is a PERMANENT LONG TERM ASSET of the US,and if all goes well,THE TARGET NATION WILL BE PARTITIONED – and the REGIME WHICH EXITED – WILL RETURN !

    So the US Goals are always MET,albeit at the cost of a few US lives.The ECONOMIC Cost is not much ! Even in Afghanistan,most of the cost is transfer payments and for the rest,the marginal cost is negligible.

    The amount spent by the USA on Karzai,Ghani and company is an INVESTMENT – it is NOT a cost.THEY ARE PERMANENT LONG TERM NON DEPRECIABLE ASSETS OF THE USA !

    In any case the US salvages its cost of war !

    In Iraq – the OIl offset the cost,and so did,the arms sales to Saudia and Kuwait and Oman – by driving the fear of the Persian Shias into the Sunnis !

    In Afghanistan – it was the 9/11 CAT insurance and the Drugs ! And now,unless the US aids Taliban,the drugs will resume.THERE WAS NO 9/11 OR ANY OTHER TERROR ATTACK ON US SOIL WHICH KILLED MORE THAN 10 PEOPLE IN THE LAST 20 YEARS ! THAT IS SUCCESS !

    Today in Viet – the Viet slit eyes love the Yanki as it is the Yanki alone which can save the Viets from PRC.(and the Viets will also get a SHOCK)

    And the TRUTH is that,the US does NOT CARE ABOUT COLLATERAL DAMAGE.That India’s Chabahar and Infra in Afghanistan,are blown to smithreens – is of no concern to the US !

    But then Y should the US care ? Y should US soldiers die to save Indian Infrastructure,in Afghanistan ?

    Y should US soldiers die for a race,when that race can’t stand up for its rights,and fight for the same,with US weapons ? (whatever be the compulsions of that race – even after 20 years)

    THE FACT IS THAT THE US WANTED TALIBAN – AS GHANI AND HIS BAND,WOULD HAVE BEEN TAKEN APART BY DAESH AND QAEDA. WITH TALIBAN IN POWER – 1 THING IS CLEAR – AND THAT IS THAT,DAESH AND QAEDA,ARE THE SWORN ENEMIES OF TALIBAN !

    EVEN THE PRC INVESTMENTS IN TALIBAN,IS GOOD NEWS FOR THE USA – AS IT OPENS A DOOR FOR DIALOGUE AND PRESSURE,VIS-A-VIS THE TALIBAN.dindooohindoo

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