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Reasons Behind Political Controversy of Withdrawing U.S. Troops from Afghanistan

By Frank Yin


Have you heard of recent news about Afghanistan? You were probably switching through news channels on the tv or you happened to glance at news about Afghanistan while scrolling through Youtube. Whatever the case is, you are definitely curious about how a major power , the U.S. withdrew all its troops from a war-torn country. The Afghan situation has a complicated history with the U.S. and there has been a lot of politics around Afghanistan.


From 1945 to 1991, the Soviet Union (present day Russia) and the United States fought many proxy wars. A proxy war is a war caused by major powers (such as the Soviet Union and United States) but without direct involvement of the powers. For instance, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan and they created a socialist government. The U.S. gave financial and military support to a resistance group called the Afghan Mujahideen.

A government replaced the socialist one, but the new government did not achieve political unity. A faction called the Taliban came out on top, and Osama Bin Laden created ties with the Taliban and created the terrorist organization, Al Qaeda. When Bin Laden and Al Qaeda attacked many U.S. buildings such as 9/11, the Taliban protected Bin Laden. In response, President Bush ordered U.S. troops to invade Afghanistan.


Over these 20 or so years, the Afghan war has been at a stalemate. The Taliban lost control of the capital and the U.S. created an Afghan government. But the Taliban hid around civilians, so the U.S. air superiority would not work unless most of the Afghan population was killed. Despite the fact that the U.S. casualties have been minimal, the U.S. recently made an agreement with the Taliban to withdraw all U.S. troops.


President Obama took office after President Bush. Since the Obama Administration, there has been pushing for less troops in Afghanistan. Then, the Trump Administration made the agreement to withdraw troops, and the duty had been passed to the Biden Administration. In 2020, Biden withdrew all U.S. troops from Afghanistan. The Biden Administration carried out the actions partially to avoid Taliban controversy. The U.S. spent nearly $1 trillion on Afghanistan's war, so there were reasons to withdraw.


Biden said that Afghan people have to “fight for their nation”. This has provoked many people, because the Afghan people entered a war created by outside forces. The U.S. effort to build an Afghan army has failed because the country has been very war-torn. Biden receives lots of criticism as the Afghan capital, Kabul, has very recently fallen into Taliban hands. The speed of Taliban success is unexpected, but the hasty and unorganized U.S. leave of Afghanistan is a reason.


Biden is not only to blame. The Trump Administration put the Biden Administration in a tough spot, because of the badly timed Taliban deal. The Biden Administration did not plan to withdraw troops, but surprisingly they decided to go along with the deal.


Although some may think of it as selfish thinking of the presidents and an overall bad decision, the U.S. may have to stay in Afghanistan for a long time. It may seem questionable, because the U.S. could have helped the U.S backed Afghanistan government better protect themselves by creating an Afghan army. It is deeper than that, the U.S. spent lots of money on the Afghan army, but many factors such as weak leadership and faith played a role.



Sources:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-58224559


https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/08/13/afghanistan-withdrawal-vietnam-embassy-saigon/


https://www-pub.naz.edu/~aamghar6/History%20of%20the%20Taliban.htm


https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/how-america-failed-in-afghanistan

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