28 Jan 2019
U.S. Close to Withdrawing Troops from Afghanistan
After nearly 17 years of conflict, the United States looks ready to finally pull their troops from Afghanistan, according to a story in the Washington Post. In an ironic twist, the U.S. has reached an agreement with the Taliban, the group who was behind the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center, which calls for the withdrawal of all American troops from the country.
The War on Terror Begins
September 11, 2001 will be remembered by many Americans as the day the two airplanes crashed into the Twin Towers in New York City, causing both buildings to collapse. Nearly 3000 people died in the attack, which the Taliban, led by Osama bin Laden, took responsibility for.
This led then President George W. Bush to declare war against the Taliban, who ruled the nation of Afghanistan. In a matter of just a few short weeks the United States had defeated the Taliban government, but peace was never truly achieved.
It was not long before the United States realized that this was not an easy nation to govern, a lesson that the former Soviet Union had learned decades earlier. In December 1979, the Soviet Union sent troops into Afghanistan, occupying the country for nearly a decade. It is reported that over 2 million Afghan citizens were killed during the occupation, with millions more fleeing.
However, in February 1989 Soviet troops pulled out of Afghanistan. Continual terrorist attacks and an inability to control warring factions in the nation helped to drain the Soviet’s resources. This opened the vacuum which the Taliban soon filled.
The fundamentalist group imposed a very strict form of Islam on the country, and it was not long before clammerings of death to America began. This eventually led to the surprise attack on September 11, which began what President Bush referred to as “The War on Terror.” It became U.S. policy to seek out and destroy terrorism wherever it was found, beginning with Afghanistan.
After the defeat of the Taliban group, an attempt was made to create a democratically elected government for Afghanistan, but this led to continual infighting within the country. No form of unity was ever truly achieved, and American troop levels in the country remained steady to help stabilize a very contentious government.
The Trump Doctrine
Last month, President Donald Trump declared that the United States would pull its troops out of Syria. These troops had been there to help fight the radical Islamic group ISIS, which had been nearly completely defeated at the time of Trump’s declaration.
As part of that policy, the president also declared that the U.S. would be pulling its remaining troops out of Afghanistan. This led to heavy opposition and skepticism from military and congressional leaders and the media, who not only disapproved of the idea but felt that it would be impossible to achieve.
Now that goal seems to have been met. According to the New York Times, the framework for a deal between the United States government and Taliban officials has been reached. This calls for the eventual pullout of all American troops and a cease-fire to occur. American envoy Zalmay Khalilzad explained, “We have a draft of the framework that has to be fleshed out before it becomes an agreement.”
The primary concern about any withdrawal from the nation would be that the Taliban would immediately regain power and begin their terrorist activities once again. According to Khalilzad, the Taliban has agreed to refrain from these kinds of activities. “The Taliban have committed, to our satisfaction, to do what is necessary that would prevent Afghanistan from ever becoming a platform for international terrorist groups or individuals.”
The nearly 18 year long war has led to tens of thousands of American soldiers either killed or injured and has cost hundreds of billions of dollars. It is the longest war in American history, but looks like it will finally be coming to an end.