Biden Promises to Withdraw Troops From Afghanistan

Greg Wang, Staff Writer

Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the U.S. has maintained a significant military force in Afghanistan. However, after almost two decades of violence and bloodshed, President Joe Biden has announced the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

President Biden is not the first U.S. president to announce the U.S. withdrawal. Previous presidents, including Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, have considered and promised U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. However, neither was able to deliver on that promise, and U.S. occupation was prolonged. Over 2,400 Americans have perished in combat, tens of thousands have been wounded, and countless Afghans, both militants and civilians, have died as a result of U.S. and Pakistani actions.

However, President Biden’s order for withdrawal is absolute. Regardless of the changing conditions, all American troops in Afghanistan will be withdrawn by Sept. 11, 20 years after Al Qaeda’s terrorist attacks.

“Look, I know there are many who will loudly insist that diplomacy cannot succeed without a robust U.S. military presence to stand as leverage,” said President Biden in a press conference on Apr. 14. “We gave that argument a decade. It’s never proved effective—not when we had 98,000 troops in Afghanistan, and not when we were down to a few thousand.” 

President Biden also added that the reason for U.S. occupation had originally been to prevent future terrorist attacks from occurring, but that their goals had long been accomplished. However, should another effort to launch an attack on the U.S. occur, President Biden warned that the U.S. would retaliate.

Since 2001, America’s focus on pursuing Al Qaeda in Afghanistan has expanded to include the Taliban, extremists that argued for a purge of foreign influence and a return to Islamic law. With the announcement of U.S. withdrawal, the Taliban and other extremist groups in the region have been emboldened, and once inactive groups are beginning to revive. 

It also leaves Pakistan in a difficult position, as Pakistan will no longer be able to maintain the same degree of control over the various groups vying for control of Afghanistan. Originally, the Pakistani government was allied with the Taliban in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, but the arrival of American troops forced them to turn on their former allies and enter into an uneasy alliance with the U.S. Now, with the U.S. out of the picture, Pakistan will once again have to deal with the Pakistani Taliban, as well as all the other militant groups in the region. However, for the time being, Pakistan’s generals continue to rejoice as America finally withdraws from the Afghan war.

In the U.S., the move has received backlash from both Democrats and Republicans, who believe the U.S. is abandoning their allies in Afghanistan and handing the country back to the Taliban. The withdrawal has also received backlash from Biden’s military advisers and the Central Intelligence Agency, which warned that its intelligence gathering capabilities in the region would be greatly diminished. However, many Democrats support the move, as it would put an end to 20 years of violence and bloodshed, which has produced few results, especially in the past eight years.

As the U.S. withdraws from Afghanistan, the Afghan war enters its endgame. Regardless, the U.S. has made it clear that it will not be involved in these affairs, and is only interested in withdrawing its troops safely.


Photo courtesy of NYTIMES.COM