The US has decided to put an end to the country’s longest run war, and withdraw its troops from Afghanistan by September the 1st. After 20 years of invasion, consistent presence of American soldiers, and spending trillions of dollars; President Joe Biden is pulling the US troops out of the land, leaving all the load of security on the country’s security forces.
But, experts are fearing that the judgment could accelerate and push Afghanistan into conflict. So, what does this decision mean for both the US and Afghanistan? Would there be peace between the nation’s government and the Taliban? And how will the withdrawal of American troops affect Afghanistan in the long run?
The US’s Invasion of Afghanistan?
The 9/11 attack, one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in the history of America was carried out on 11th September 2001 by Al-Qaeda terrorist group based in Afghanistan. This lead President George W. Bush to order US troops to invade Afghanistan for executing the terrorist and halting any such future attacks.
Since then, Washington has posted thousands of troops and poured trillions of dollars into Afghanistan for battling the Taliban insurgency. But the number of US troops in the country has been decreasing after peaking with 110,000 American soldiers in 2011.
During the Trump administration, an agreement was established between the US and the Taliban in February 2020. According to the agreement the US had to withdraw its troops from Afghan ground by 1st May 2021. But on this Wednesday, president Biden announced the complete withdrawal of US troops by September the first.
In his statement President Biden Said, “We cannot continue the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan hoping to create the ideal conditions for our withdrawal, expecting a different result.” He further added, “it is time for American troops to come home.”
The Persistent Concern
20 years of conflict have left the south Asian country in a dire economic state. The White House is persistently trying to establish a peace agreement between the Afghan government and the Taliban; before fully withdrawing its troops. Locals also believe that there will be no need for international security if they reach an agreement by themselves.
Analysts and experts are concerned that pulling American security out of Afghanistan might push the country into another, more chaotic civil war. In recent times bombing and assassination cases within Kabul have become a daily occurrence; there are more clashes between security forces and Taliban on the ground.
Furthermore, war is not the only concern that makes the country’s future look bleak. More than half of Afghanistan’s population is struggling to survive on daily basis. The poverty rate has skyrocketed in the past couple of years. The situation is turning direr as international aid is reducing because of the pandemic. Experts believe that the country’s government might collapse if international aid both financial and humanitarian is reduced.
How Will The Withdrawal Impact Women & Minorities in Afghanistan?
The Taliban’s rule over Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, was one of the darkest times of the country, especially for the minority communities and women. Girls after the age of eight were not allowed to pursue education, nor were they allowed to have an occupation. Women were not allowed to roam on the streets without any male blood relative or a burqa. They were even forbidden to stay on their balconies for long. The regime believed that women are the source of corruption; all the policies were introduced forbidding women’s basic rights in the name of protecting women’s dignity.
But today, more than 40% of all Afghan students are women. But still, in the Taliban-controlled region, there are not many schools allowing female students. And the some which do, the subjects like social sciences and language is substituted by religious subjects. Even in the talks with the US administration, Taliban have made many ambiguous statements about women’s roles and right in the country that is not reassuring about girls and women safety in the times to come.
In the Taliban’s regime, there are widespread molestation, prosecution, and massacres targeting the ethnic minority communities like Shiite in predominantly Sunnis majority regions. Still mistreatment of minorities is a common occurrence in the country and the protection of minority rights is yet a distant dream.
What Lays Ahead for Afghanistan?
Since 1996 a lot of things have changed, and there are very slim chances of the Taliban again rolling back into Kabul and reimpose its Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan. Furthermore, the Taliban understand that without foreign assistance and corporation the country cannot be governed.
Moreover, the country’s armed forces have also grown stronger, and many security resistances will not let the Taliban sweep into power without a tough fight. Analysts believe that the current administration’s survival will be completely dependent on the country’s security forces, though to some it still looks relatively bleak.