Photo Credit: Voice of America News
By: Dylan Evans
August 30 – News stations, political radio, newspapers, and online outlets were scattered with reactions of the removal of American troops from Afghanistan. Some people are concerned with the impact the action has had on Afghanistan in the past week. Many are concerned for the Afghan immigrants, whose numbers are already near 150,000 people evacuating the country. On top of this, there has been a rise in paranoia of the Taliban— the group who has been fighting to take control of the country since 1996.
The conflict in Afghanistan has roots dating back to the 1800’s. The country has been fighting for its individual freedom since the British Imperial Empire claimed it under its kingdom. Decades later, when the country had finally achieved its own independence, Afghanistan still needed to rely on the Russian government. One can begin to understand why the country remains in a state of chaos to this day.
The United States, who had previously mettled by supplying Afghanistan with weapons and funding in the late 1980’s, did not become directly involved in the conflict until 1998, when the Al-Qaeda group planned to attack two U.S. embassies, leading former President Bill Clinton to send missile strikes in retaliation.
These actions led to the fated 9/11 attacks, which is viewed as the official start of the conflict in 2001, with United States ground troops being deployed to fight Al-Qaeda and fighting continuing through the Bush Administration until now, with the action taken on August 30th.
So, what effects will this have on Afghanistan and its citizens? On August 15th, as U.S. troops were being removed from the country, the Taliban had regained control of Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital. This effectively means that the Taliban are in control of the country.
Women Afghan citizens have already openly expressed concerns for their safety, as well as Afghanistan’s citizens protesting in the capital against the Taliban. Unfortunately, this has led to violence, with the Taliban going as far as beatings and gunfire to deter protesting, with the largest group of protestors being targeted on September 7th.
Currently, approximately 95,000 Afghanistan citizens have arrived in the United States for shelter, most of them women and children. They arrived in major cities like Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and New York City.
Even through all this struggle, violence, and chaos erupting, President Biden has stood unbowed to media outlets and demand to admit he was wrong to remove the forces from Afghanistan.
Evan Osnos, writer of Biden’s biography, had this to say about his decision: “In a milieu of Rhodes Scholars and former professors, he is thin-skinned about condescension, real and imagined.”
In contrast, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates referred to Biden as “wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”
In brief, the United States’ active involvement in Afghanistan may have ceased, but the conflict continues; especially as the Afghan citizens resist the control of the Taliban.
In such times, it is crucial for one to remember why history has led to this point, and even if in opposition to President Biden’s decision, to remind oneself that hospitality and humanity will conquer all in times of struggle and strife.