Student opinion: The mess in Afghanistan

Schneider argues that many mistakes were made in military withdrawal

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In April, President Joe Biden announced that in September, the U.S. military forces would leave Afghanistan for good. This would start a process that was not handled well.  I believe that we were not ready to pull out of Afghanistan. While I agree that it was a good idea to end the war, it was not the time to do so, nor the way to do so.

In the beginning of August, the Taliban had started direct assaults on the urban areas of Afghanistan. During the withdrawal, the Taliban ended up continuing to capture and contest territory all across the country. They ramped up attacks and rapidly seized more territory until they had taken over the government. 

The speed of the fall of the Afghanistan government threatened a mass exodus of refugees and has sparked a humanitarian crisis. The withdrawal directly led to the deaths of 13 American service members, along with different episodes of chaos at the Kabul airport and the abandonment of American citizens with at-risk Afghans in the torn apart country. 

The president should have anticipated that this was going to happen, but instead he just watched it all fall to shreds. Government military officials predicted the withdrawal would lead to the collapse of the Afghan military forces, and soon enough, the Afghan government. Well, those officials were 100% correct.

“It will go down in history as one of the greatest failures of American leadership,” Mike Rogers, the top Republican on the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, said to Reuters.

Meanwhile, many on social media are blaming President Trump for this happening since he had made the original agreement to withdraw troops. Although Trump did plan to pull the troops out, he wasn’t going to pull out until certain circumstances were met. 

The circumstances that needed to be met included waiting for the Afghan military and government to be strong enough on its own, which they clearly weren’t. This goes to show president Biden acted too quickly without considering the consequences. 

“I fear the president may be delusional,” Rogers told Reuters, calling the withdrawal an “unmitigated disaster.” From the research I have done, I do not disagree with this statement. 

Top generals had advised president Biden earlier this year to keep several thousand troops in Afghanistan. Biden denies that he was told this, though other officials insist he received the information. 

“I was present when that discussion occurred and I am confident that the president heard all the recommendations and listened to them very thoughtfully,” General Frank McKenzie said to Politico. 

Not only did Biden fail to listen to those advisors, but he also made many promises, and he didn’t follow through with a large majority of them. 

For example, Biden promised that if there were American citizens left, military troops were going to stay until they got all of them out. 

“But let me be clear, any American who wants to come home, we will get you home,” Biden said according to Politico. 

Yet many Americans have been left stranded in Afghanistan while Biden withdrew the last U.S. forces before even getting them home. 

Biden also broke his commitment that Afghan leaders and journalists would be kept safe too. President Biden didn’t even make sure that they made it to safety, and all of their family members were left to the mercy of the Taliban. 

Furthermore, Biden vowed to continue providing the Afghan army with air support but failed to do so. The U.S. had pulled its air support, and this meant that the Afghan military simply couldn’t operate anymore. How are they supposed to survive if they don’t have anyone fighting for them anymore?

President Biden let the whole problem end in strategic chaos including chaotic evacuation after Afghanistan fell and the Taliban had captured the capital, Kubal. After watching this unfold, I am more fearful for what can happen in the future 

Not only has this affected the country, but it has also affected American veterans and how they look at our country now. It has gotten deeply personal for the people who gave their lives to this war. 

“I think most veterans feel heartbroken knowing the blood and the treasure spilled ended up in a ‘strategic failure,'” U.S. representative Don Bacon said, quoting witness Gen. Mark Milley. 

There are a lot of examples that have shown how our current leader has completely mishandled the situation in Afghanistan. We should have never withdrawn from Afghanistan in the first place, and all of the effects that I have shared prove so. There are many effects that were left on millions of people ranging from veterans, all the way to U.S. citizens and the Afghan people. I have a feeling that it will only get worse from here.