Ending The Forever War…

As U.S will be withdrawing the troops from Afghanistan, we look at how this all started and what lies ahead…

A couple of days back, U.S President Joe Biden announced that the U.S will be completely withdrawing its forces from Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks. He added that “it’s time to end the ‘forever war.’” Biden added that the reasons for remaining in Afghanistan are “increasingly unclear” and that only the Afghan people could rebuild their country.

A senior administration official told reporters that, American forces, in conjunction with troops from NATO allies, will commence withdrawing before the end of this month. The official also said that the September deadline isn’t “conditions-based” and could be concluded early.

We all know about 9/11 and how it killed 3,000 people in America. After the tragic incident, Osama bin Laden, the head of Islamist terror group al-Qaeda, was identified as the man responsible for the attacks. Then, the Taliban, who protected Bin Laden, refused to hand him over. So, a month after 9/11, the U.S launched air strikes against Afghanistan.

When more countries joined the war, the Taliban were quickly removed from the power. Since then, the U.S and its allies have struggled to stop the collapse of the Afghanistan government and to end deadly attacks by the Taliban.

The Monetary Cost

Jason Dempsey, an adjunct senior fellow at CNAS, told Bloomberg Government, the U.S spends “$5 billion a year just to keep civil society functioning”, in Afghanistan. Brown University have found that Congress appropriated around $978 billion, or an average of $49 billion annually, for the war in Afghanistan from fiscal 2001 through fiscal 2020. Official data shows that the US also contributed approximately $137 billion — 16% of all money spent in the last 18 years — to reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan.

The Human Cost

Since the war started in 2001, U.S forces have suffered more than 2,300 death and around 20,660 soldiers injured in action. According to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (Unama), over 100,000 civilians have been killed or injured since it began systematically recording civilian casualties in 2009.

As both the human and monetary cost of the war in Afghanistan is immensely high, the withdrawal of U.S troops sounds like a move that should have happened long back. But what are the experts saying? Some US experts are saying that America’s departure could lead to Afghanistan slipping into a bloody civil war. Already the Taliban has launched multiple attacks over the past year in a bid to bring more territory under their control. On top of that, the U.S intelligence suggests that they are anticipated to make further military gains.

Many are worried that a full US troop pull-out would leave a void that could be filled by militant groups looking to plan attacks in the Western countries. At the end of the day, Afghan people are stuck amid terrorists and might continue to become the victims of this bloody conflict.

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