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Was Withdrawing from Afghanistan a Good Move?

U.S. soldiers stand guard as Afghans wait Monday at the Kabul airport following the swift end to Afghanistan's 20-year war. Wakil Kohsar/AFP

Biden is determined to withdraw all Americans from Afghanistan by August 31rst despite state department and intelligence officials saying it’s unlikely. According to Bussiness Insider, Congressman Adam Shiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said, “I think it’s possible, but I think it’s very unlikely given the number of Americans who still need to be evacuated, the number of SIV’s, the number of others who are members of the Afghan press, civil-society leaders, women leaders. It’s hard for me to imagine all of that can be accomplished between now and the end of the month.”

Due to this, Biden suggested that the deadline to evacuate be extended, but the Taliban rejected the suggestion and said there will be “grave consequences” if there are US military still in Afghanistan after the deadline. 

However, despite the reported flaws of Biden’s withdrawal, Republicans, as well as Democrats, have been thundering with the consequences of a withdrawal, such as the fact that Afghanistan has become a retreat for terrorist organizations. 

A NATO Ambassador stated that although around $2.26 trillion were invested into Afghanistan’s military development, Afghans still were not capable of defending themselves. Despite NATO’s “In together, out together” litany, many officials recognize that the decision on Biden’s behalf is an issue they see eye to eye with. With Osama Bin Laden dead and Al-Qaeda, at least before the withdrawal, dissipated, Biden believed the United States achieved the goals they originally set with the war. Therefore, while the execution of the withdrawal itself is a notable topic, an imperative geopolitical question remains.

Was withdrawing from Afghanistan a good move?

There is no right or wrong move because both options have consequences. Many argue that the U.S. still needs to put an end to the Taliban, regardless of what the president believes. Initially, the purpose of keeping U.S. troops in Afghanistan was because of the deal former President Donald Trump had constructed with the Taliban. 

According to The Washington Post, the United States had essentially 14 months to evacuate Afghanistan and in return, the Taliban made a deal that they would not overthrow the Afghanistan government. During this time, “the Taliban had been killing Afghan forces throughout this, attempting to use the violence as leverage in negotiations, U.S. intelligence officials believed.” 

If the U.S. stayed in war and attempted to decimate the Taliban, we would have risked the lives of the U.S. military and would have attempted to rebuild a functioning nation-state, which has always been unattainable. Alternatively, when the US withdrew, many innocent Afghans and their families were and continue to be terrorized by the Taliban. Consequentially, a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan became a haven for Islamic terrorism and radicalism. 

Had the United States kept its military in Afghanistan, we could have avoided the Taliban taking over and provided a somewhat safer environment for the civilians. While maintaining a military presence in Afghanistan would have broken our deal with Taliban leadership, no serious person could believe such a deal would be honored by the Taliban. 

Granted, US troops in Afghanistan would have accelerated greater war and tensions in the region, but it would have provided necessary peace and stability for a potentially greater assurance of a decline in terrorism. 

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