On April 14, President Joe Biden announced his plan to withdraw all military presence from Afghanistan in a speech at the White House. The decision comes after nearly two decades of military involvement following the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Biden hopes to begin pulling troops before the first of May and have them completely out by the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
Despite things being made complicated in early April due to a Taliban attack on a U.S. base in Afghanistan and refusal to attend a peace summit in Turkey, Biden has made it known that “it is time to end the forever war.”
First reported by the Washington Post, news broke on April 13 by word of a U.S. senior administration official, who also mentioned that NATO would mirror these plans. As of January, there were an estimated 2,500 U.S. troops deployed in Afghanistan and roughly 7,500 troops from other NATO countries.
As the U.S. begins to shift its focus to elsewhere in the world, Biden cited one major factor in the move: that there is “no military solution to the problems plaguing Afghanistan.”
The U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Agency for International Development reported the involvement with Afghanistan has come to an estimated cost of $824.9 billion between 2001 and 2020, a number that was only expected to continue to rise.
The cost of war reaches even deeper with an estimated 35 to 45 thousand civilian deaths in Afghanistan as well as more than 2,300 fallen American troops since 2001.
Biden discussed the choice with different parties including U.S. allies, military experts and other intelligence officials to ensure that this was the course of action he should take.
The end of America’s longest war is one that has been awaited by many in American public as the focus on domestic issues now supersedes the war in Afghanistan, with Biden saying, “We have to defeat this pandemic and strengthen the global health system.”
Biden made it clear that if the U.S. was to uphold the security of the Afghan government it would have had to stay in the country for much longer than already intended. Biden explicitly stated, “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.”
This now leaves the Afghan government to fend for itself against the looming dangers the Taliban presents. With the US forces now inching out of sight, the Taliban are free to go back on their pledge made to break off from al-Qaeda and return to old ways.
There is once again hope that the Taliban will finally resume its peace negotiations as America begins its withdrawal, however, the withdrawal could also just as easily grant them an opening to take the land they’ve been waiting for.
It is worth noting that the U.S. government intends on sending $300 million in aid to the Afghan government in order to help bolster their civil programs.
The U.S. has been sending supportive funds to the country for a long time but as it pulls its military force back, the Biden administration believes it is right to send more to assist the Afghan people in some way.