What the United States withdrawal of troops means for Afghanistan

Written by: Janelle Emokpae


The war in Afghanistan has been going on for what seems like centuries. This war, also known as the longest war in US history, is very complicated and difficult to understand. For almost 20 years, the US government put up a front that they were making great progress in Afghanistan and that they had everything figured out, when in reality they didn't. Everything that has been concealed for the past 2 decades seemed to have blown up in our faces in the past week with the Taliban taking over Afghanistan and wreaking havoc among innocent civilians. With new updates frequently coming in every minute, it’s hard to keep track of what is going on or even why all of this is happening. What made the US government decide to pull out their troops and what does that mean for Afghan civilians?


Background

A lot of what is happening today stems from the 2001 attacks on the Twin Towers, popularly known as 9/11. After 9/11, America changed as a whole and safety became its #1 priority. Stricter airport security, new plane hijacking training, and more web surveillance could be noted as some of the things that were put in place, but many wanted to address the "root" cause of the attacks. Osama Bin Laden, the founder of al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the attacks and posed a great threat to the United States. At this time, a group called the Taliban controlled a great part of Afghanistan, causing harm to innocent civilians, mainly women and children. The United States not only wanted to capture Osama Bin Laden but also defeat the Taliban and reconstruct Afghanistan as a whole. This meant building new schools and hospitals, making counterterrorism tactics, and keeping the Taliban overpowered.


What Went Wrong?

After over a decade, it was revealed that the US government lied about their progress in the Afghan war. It is believed that they lied to conceal fears that the US was losing and to paint a rosy picture that everything was turning out fine. In reality, the government manipulated almost every detail about the Afghan war. They used numbers that they couldn't explain, covered up the fact that the war was getting worse, but the most condemning thing is that they didn't even have a plan. Military officials couldn't communicate a clear goal and had no idea who they were there to fight. They had no idea what the "victory" would be and therefore had no idea how to end the war. With the US government wasting millions of dollars and having no clear goal, the Taliban started to gain control over Afghanistan once again. According to the US government, it was clear that their military couldn't transform Afghanistan into a modern democracy, so pulling out all troops would be in their best interest.


The Impact

Now that the Taliban has officially taken over Afghanistan and almost all US troops have been evacuated, Afghanistan has turned into a complete warzone. Every update coming from Afghanistan tends to be more and more heartbreaking. Innocent civilians are being killed and attacked for no reason. People who are trying to leave the country are trapped due to the threats on local airports from the Taliban. Private properties have been seized and schools for girls have been closed. UN offices have been attacked and taken over and there are fears that they could sell US military operations to other countries. Although these horrendous events are happening, they have not been ignored. Countries all over the world are combining their efforts to safely evacuate as many people as they can. Airbnb will provide temporary housing to 20,000 Afghans, the G7 has a road map for how to deal with the Taliban going forward, the US has evacuated 58,000 people so far, and resistance fighters are in negotiations with the Taliban. Crises like this are hard to resolve and often take years to fully recover from. Hopefully, the war in Afghanistan will soon come to an end, and innocent people won't need to live through violence in their everyday lives.


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