President Joe Biden has announced that he will remove US troops from Afghanistan by September 11. This will end the longest US war with a foreign country. In the war that will end after 20 years, more than 2,300 US soldiers have lost their lives and tens of thousands have been injured. In Afghanistan, thousands of lives were lost and the war cost more than $ 2 trillion to US taxpayers. After all, the last US troops to leave will leave parts of Afghanistan under the control of the same repressive Taliban leaders who were there in 2001. So what will happen next? Here is everything you need to know about what happened between the USA and Afghanistan in the last 20 years …
The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in the 1980s and eventually withdrew after the resistance of the fighters collectively known as the mujahideen. Osama bin Laden was among them. The United States supplied and assisted these anti-Soviet forces. But in the post-Soviet power vacuum, the Taliban was founded under the leadership of Mullah Mohammad Omar, who wanted to create an Islamic society, eliminate foreign influences such as television and music, and impose a particularly repressive version of Islamic law. By 2001, almost all of Afghanistan was captured by the Taliban.
On September 11, 2001, four passenger planes were hijacked by al-Qaeda members in the US and then attacked the World Trade Center, Twin Towers and the US Department of Defense (Pentagon). Nearly 3 thousand people lost their lives and 25 thousand people were injured in the incident, which was recorded as the deadliest terrorist attack in the history of insurgency. It was not the Taliban, the regional Islamic political and military force of Afghanistan, that attacked the United States on September 11, but the international terrorist network Al Qaeda. However, the mastermind of the attack, including Osama bin Laden, was operating under the protection of the Taliban, who refused to give up bin Laden after the attack.
With the “authorization to use military force” decision adopted a week after 9/11 in the USA, a military effort was initiated towards the decision. Only one MP, California Representative Barbara Lee disagreed. According to the Congressional Research Service, this decision was first used to allow action in Afghanistan, but since then presidents have used this clause for military activities in at least 37 different countries.
It was stated that the occupation, managed by US forces with the help of NATO allies, was specifically designed as a step in a war against terrorism. President George W. Bush said at the time, “These carefully targeted actions are designed to prevent Afghanistan from being used as a terrorist operation base and to attack the Taliban regime’s military capability. This could be a permanent war.” Bush said in a different statement later. “Since September 11, all young Americans have gained a new understanding of the value, cost, duty and sacrifice of freedom,” he said.
Barack Obama, one of the former presidents of the USA, took office by promising to refocus the US army on Iraq, which Bush also occupied. About 100,000 US troops were deployed to Afghanistan from time to time during the Obama administration. Obama tried to halt US war operations in Afghanistan in 2014, but left more troops in the country than planned. His successor, Donald Trump, dispatched new US troops there, largely before withdrawing troops and entering into peace talks with the Taliban.
Biden said on Wednesday that no US force on the ground could deter the Taliban or end the war. Speaking to Christiane Amanpoor from CNN, a source said, “This was not true when we had 98 thousand soldiers on the ground and it would not be right to keep the current 2,500 soldiers on the field. We do not think they will change the game.
The highest casualties occurred after Obama’s military increase in 2009. 2010 was the deadliest year for both the US and its NATO allies. Since the US and NATO combat operations ended in 2014, far fewer US soldiers have died. The data show that more than 2,300 US soldiers have died in the war so far.
Towards the end of 2001, bin Laden traveled through parts of Afghanistan to Pakistan, where he remained in hiding for almost a decade until the specially bred US “Navy SEALs” killed him in May 2011.
CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh visited Taliban-controlled areas of Afghanistan, which were the victims of US and British troops ten years ago. She and the CNN team found the women unable to get out. “While the center of Kabul and most of the main cities remains mostly under government control, large areas of Afghanistan’s rural areas are ruled by the fragile and diverse units of the Taliban. For more than five years they have been making their rules in Musa Qala, despite having been in regular combat with Afghan security forces further south in Helmand province. One of the residents said, ‘At the end of the day, the Taliban are taking power. It is not really possible to go against their will ”.
The stated purpose of the US intervention is not to liberate women oppressed by the Taliban or to end this regime. In fact, the United States has been involved in peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government for years. The simplest explanation of the USA’s goal in Afghanistan is to prevent it from becoming a home for terrorist groups like Al Qaeda again. For example, when the US left Iraq, the power vacuum led to the rise of IS there, but what the United States was trying to achieve in Afghanistan and the strategy to do so changed with each president. This purposelessness was revealed in an internal government study, The Afghansitan Papers, unearthed by The Washington Post in 2015 and published in 2019. The documents suggest that government leaders have long misled Americans as to what can be achieved in Afghanistan.
After this date, many US forces will be left in Afghanistan and they will focus on helping US diplomats. However, a clear number is not given. For example, it is not entirely clear what role US special operations units will play in Afghanistan.
Biden’s decision is said to be final and not “based on circumstances.” So, according to experts, the US will withdraw from Afghanistan in any case.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made a stern statement Wednesday, “Apparently, on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks, we will package the country like a gift to our enemies, and give it back to them.” “undermines our commitment to”.
Progressives and Democrats in particular support Biden. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said, “I think President Biden has a careful and thoughtful plan. The President doesn’t want endless wars. I don’t want endless wars. The American people don’t want it either.” and they told the American people that we were finally around the corner in Afghanistan, but ultimately we were only in a vicious circle. ”On the other hand, Biden’s decision is also in line with Trump’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, but the former president did not put weight on it.