Source: The New York Times
After two decades of the ouster of the Taliban from the seat of Afghanistan power, in the early hours of Sunday, August 15, 2021, the forces loyal to the group seized power from the government in the capital city of Kabul, forcing President Ashraf Ghani’s departure from the country, and bringing an end to the ongoing 20 years’ war in the country.
Following President Ghani’s departure from the country, chaos erupted in different sectors of the country, especially in Kabul, as thousands of Afghans who feared the risks associated with the Taliban rule raced to flee the country after the Taliban takeover. A video that has gone viral on the internet showed Afghans storming the military side of the airport trying to cling to a U.S Air Force as it attempted to move down the tarmac. Sections of the video showed some people falling off the plane to their death as the plane took off.
The aftermath of the takeover has seen countries like the United States pull out of the country, beginning with the evacuation of the US diplomatic mission within 24 hours of the takeover. What soon followed was the withdrawal of the US troops from the country. The withdrawal of the troops by the United States government comes earlier than the initial withdrawal date for September 1, 2021, in commemoration of the September 1, 2001 attack on US soil. Diplomats and political analysts have criticized the US government for its handling of the situation.
The President of the United States, Joe Biden, defended his administration’s decision to pull out of Afghanistan while commenting on the situation. According to the President, he stands firmly behind the decision of his administration to withdraw the US troops from Afghanistan while adding that “there was never going to be a right time to do that.” In a televised address, the President argued that he was faced with the choice to either follow through with the drawdown or escalate the conflict into its third decade and sacrifice more American lives. Mr. Biden, the 46th American President, said, “After 20 years, I’ve learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw U.S. forces. That’s why we’re still there.”
Biden pointed out how Afghanistan political leaders gave up the fight and fled the country. In addition, the Afghan military structure and formation collapsed without putting up as much of a fight. He further explained that the past week’s development further reinforces that putting an end to the U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan was the right decision and, more importantly, at the right time.
He further explained that the 20-year mission of the U.S. military in Afghanistan was not a nation-building process, nor was it about creating a unified, central democracy. Still, instead, it was designed to prevent another terrorist attack on American soil.