‘We have left Americans behind’

Biden withdraws U.S. from Afghanistan after 20-year war.

Andi Basista, News Editor

Taliban fighters celebrated with gunshots as they watched the final American cargo planes fly away, signifying the end of a 20-year war. On Aug. 31, President Joe Biden addressed the American people on his decision to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan. With the complete withdrawal of U.S. troops, many Afghans are fearful of further instability due to recent reports of violence in areas under Taliban rule, the Associated Press reported.

“I was not going to extend this forever war,” Biden said. “And I was not extending a forever exit.”

However, the Biden administration experienced backlash for the decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. 

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED?

On Aug. 30, the U.S. government lifted its final soldier, Major General Chris Donahue, off of Afghanistan soil after two decades of war initiated by the 9/11 Al-Qaeda terrorist attacks. 

Biola’s assistant professor of political science and American government Scott Waller explained the worldwide impact of the withdrawal.

“It’s now on the Biden administration in terms of how that withdrawal was executed, and for the world to see it was executed very, very poorly at the cost of hundreds of lives and probably more that we don’t know about,” Waller said. “The president has in some way owned that, but in one sentence he pretends to own it but in the next sentence blames others.”

However, director of the Middle Eastern Studies program at San Francisco State University, Stephen Zunes, described the withdrawal as an essential political choice for the U.S.

“I don’t think it will have much of an impact in terms of the United States,” Zunes said. “Most of our allies who assisted us in Afghanistan actually agree with the president that the Afghan government was too corrupt and did not have legitimacy.”

According to ABC News, Biden takes responsibility for the decision to evacuate, as well as the evacuation timeline. 

LEFT BEHIND

After the departure of the last cargo plane, roughly 200 Americans and thousands of Afghans were left behind, AP News reported

“The bottom line is there is no evacuation from the end of a war that you can run without the kinds of complexities, challenges and threats we faced, none,” Biden said in a report by the Los Angeles Times

Since March, the Biden administration reached out to Americans in Afghanistan 19 times and 90% of Americans that wanted to evacuate were able to leave, Biden stated in his address.

Biden also promised to evacuate Afghans that aided the U.S. However, according to Waller, the administration went back on its promise after the last troop left Afghanistan’s soil.

“For those Afghans who were cooperative with the U.S. over the last 20 years, there was more than an agreement that we would get them out of the country safely if need be, and that promise has been reneged upon during this combination of the withdrawal,” Waller said.

WHAT HAPPENS NOW?

While the Taliban made promises to rule more moderately by allowing women to attend school and work and have denied any plans for revenge on allies of the U.S., several Afghans are skeptical of these reforms according to NPR.

In an article by NPR, Biden has said that the original goal and intent for going to war was achieved 10 years ago with the death of Al-Qaeda. Now, 20 years after 9/11, Biden claimed further bloodshed is unnecessary but humane American efforts in Afghanistan will continue.

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