Published On: Sun, Aug 1st, 2021

Analysis: U.S. Withdrawal from Afghanistan Proves Doomsday Predictions

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By Jan Ellen

ISTANBUL (TURKISH JOURNAL) – It was never going to end well for the Afghan people after the Biden administration surprisingly followed a Trump-era pledge to withdraw all U.S. and NATO troops from Afghanistan. With the current attack on the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, (UNAMA) – the doomsday predictions have begun. Regardless of political rhetoric, the complete withdrawal of those troops from this region received cautionary backlash from two former secretaries of State – Hillary Clinton and Madeleine Albright as well as a host of other U.S. dignitaries who gave dire warnings about the administration’s decision. After President Biden’s announcement, Clinton said in an interview with CNN that the first major consequence would be “the potential collapse of the Afghan government and a takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban.” She added: “Probably with a resumption of civil war in certain parts of the country, but a largely Taliban-run government at some point in the not-too-distant future.” Albright had warned Biden to avoid what she termed a “reckless withdrawal that leads to state collapse, a civil war, and the revival of a global terrorist haven.”

Analysts and experts on Afghanistan are intrinsically aware that the Taliban will stop at nothing to regain the power they so brutally wielded for decades. Former presidents and dignitaries alike highlighted the risks and high stakes for everyone involved by withdrawing all troops from Afghanistan. Former President George W. Bush, Jr. in an interview with German channel Deutsche Welle, warned about “unbelievably bad” consequences as a result of troop withdrawal. Bush said: “I’m afraid Afghan women and girls are going to suffer unspeakable harm.” He also expressed concerns about anyone who had assisted the troops when they were there as did Clinton. Bush reiterated his fear: “They’re just going to be left behind to be slaughtered by these very brutal people, and it breaks my heart.” Meanwhile, in a July 19 interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, retired U.S. Army General David Petraeus echoed those concerns. Petraeus commanded U.S. forces in Afghanistan from 2010-2011 under former President Obama and does not agree with Biden’s decision. As Petraeus commented: “I’m not sure that they’ll take the entire country, Fareed, but the situation on the ground has become increasingly dire with each passing week.”

While Biden’s decision could be viewed from two distinct vantage points – clearly – the Afghan people are destined to be the losers under the grip of abject lawlessness. On one hand, Afghani leadership urged Biden to respect the Doha Agreement which the Trump administration signed. It’s entitled The Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan and supposedly a ‘peace agreement’ signed between the United States and the Taliban on February 29, 2020 in Doha, Qatar. The deal includes withdrawal of all American and NATO troops from Afghanistan, a Taliban pledge to prevent al-Qaeda from operating in areas under Taliban control, and talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government.  The problem with this agreement is that it also includes eliminating Taliban travel bans,  unfreezing Taliban assets and lifting an arms embargo all while releasing 5,000 Taliban prisoners by March 20. This is the same Taliban who were directly involved in 9/11.

Some might make the argument that this is an issue for the Afghanis themselves to resolve except for the sad reality – on their own, they have no power to resolve it. They remain at the mercy of whichever lawless group happens to be running amok in the country at any time. The Doha Agreement is, in effect, no agreement at all. It was a ploy by the Taliban that Trump in all his political bumbling, fell for. Looking at this from a second vantage point, albeit a more logical one – the New York Times reported that despite certain inroads made in assisting the Afghan people, after two trillion USD in expenditures for Afghanistan, there’s still not much to show for it either in Afghanistan or for the U.S. – and it has put the U.S. in debt for years to come. That certainly doesn’t bode well for the U.S. economy in the long-run.

Facts on the ground, are that a number of American NGOs worked tirelessly to assist in rebuilding Afghanistan especially helping Afghan women in gaining their financial independence through training programs that were quite successful. The U.S. also made great headway in making sure the largely female populace got educated – something the Taliban loath and forbid. Now that the troop withdrawal is complete, the very fears that were expressed are happening. In an article in Time Magazine, the author stated that the Trump administration’s agreement with the Taliban is tantamount to a “full retreat.” The point the article makes is that America’s security is affected by instability in Afghanistan and they cannot be separated. Another point made is that the peace agreement signed with the Taliban gives them a number of “concrete, measurable gifts.”

The question now is how will America step up to the plate to keep its commitments to the Afghan people and make sure they are able to support them in other ways, moving forward. As the Time article states, the Taliban are untrustworthy and cannot be trusted to protect American security interests. This leaves the U.S. even more vulnerable and constantly having to put out fires abroad instead of being prepared for the inevitable – another attack on Americans or American interests. One thing we know for sure is that America can no longer afford to be generous to those who wish it nothing but harm.

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