US forces have withdrawn 95 percent of their troops from Afghanistan, according to the latest military update. The Biden administration said that the US will leave Afghanistan after two decades of fighting.
An Afghan commander said in a BBC story that the US troops left the Bagram Airbase at night without notice, and the Afghan military found out hours later. With “coming at will” 20 years ago and “leaving without notice” today, the US did just the opposite of “order” and “responsibility.” As the culprit that started the Afghan issue, the US should not simply take to its heels, but should act in a responsible manner to ensure smooth transition in Afghanistan.
America’s longest war has caused not only colossal expenditures itself, but also deaths, displacement and aggravated poverty in Afghanistan. The war has cost the US $2.26 trillion and killed at least 47,245 civilians in Afghanistan, according to the Costs of War Project by Brown University. A Pew poll found the majority of the US veterans and public considered it as a “war not worth fighting.” Despite some US funding for “reconstruction” in Afghanistan, the country’s poverty rate rose to 47 percent through 2020 compared to 36 percent in 2007, according to the World Bank.
The failure of the US in the war on terror can be also gauged from the rising terrorist threat in Afghanistan. In 2001 there were only the Taliban and al-Qaida network in Afghanistan. But presently, there are more than 20 terrorist groups, Afghan political analyst Nazari Pariani noted.
Leaving a mess and turmoil in the fragile area, the US discarded its responsibilities and obligations and hastily withdrew from Afghanistan. That makes the Afghan people the helpless bearer of war consequences, but also increases the security risks of regional countries.
The US’ hasty retreat from Afghanistan has led to turbulence in the war-torn region. Since the start of the US-led troops’ departure in May, Afghanistan has faced a deteriorating security situation, with the Taliban gaining ground and a record number of fatalities. The Taliban has claimed to have seized over 85 percent of territory in Afghanistan as the US exited. A New York Times tracking showed that with at least 260 civilians killed in May, the month’s total death toll was the highest in a single month from July 2019 until then. When Biden said the rapid withdrawal was “a matter of safety,” the US has totally put the peace and order of Afghanistan behind it.
The security vacuum left by the US withdrawal also adds instability to the region and risks the expansion of extremists and terrorists in Afghanistan. Still struggling in the peace talks, Afghanistan may again be faced with a civil war with more severe humanitarian problems.
Perhaps to justify their irresponsible manner of withdrawal, the US now says that they did not go to Afghanistan to build the nation and Afghanistan’s future was no longer in their hands. In fact, they had never truly taken Afghanistan’s peace and prosperity into consideration, but exposed its hypocrisy and selfishness.
The US wars in Iraq, Libya, and other places all ended with costly failures and disasters to millions of local people. A US veteran who fought in the Afghan war said that “a hundred percent we lost the war.” How about what the Afghan people have lost? As pulling out of Afghanistan, the US should reflect on the role it has played in the Afghan issue and how to fulfill its obligations to the reconciliation and reconstruction in the country.