Joe Biden’s Afghan troop withdrawal may end in tragedy

U.S. Foreign Policy Update

During a recent trip to Europe, Joe Biden did not lose the opportunity to declare “America is back.” But action speaks louder than words. In Afghanistan, the United States is out. The consequences may be tragic for the country and dangerous for the United States and the wider world.

The President of the United States did not even pretend that the United States is abandoning a stable and successful Afghanistan. Say Earlier this month, Biden admitted to the media that the Taliban were “the most powerful military force since 2001” when the United States and allied forces invaded Afghanistan and expelled the Taliban government from Kabul.

Biden insisted that the Taliban is now “very unlikely” to reconquer the entire country. But Mark Milley, America’s most senior general, doesn’t sound so confident.his judgment Last week it was just “the automatic takeover of the Taliban is not a foregone conclusion.”

If the Taliban were to re-conquer Afghanistan, it would be a disaster for the people of that country, especially women, and a shame for the United States. Confusingly, the Biden administration could have avoided this risk at a relatively low cost.

The American president touched on the 2,448 Americans who lost their lives in a war. 20 years war, And more than 20,000 wounded, as well as the mental loss of war veterans. The American allies also suffered heavy losses. Britain alone lost 457 soldiers.

But no Americans have been killed in Afghanistan for 17 months.Biden believes that such low casualties are the result of the U.S. involvement. Peace talks With the Taliban-Suppose the United States withdraws from the country. He believes that if the United States finally announces its intention to stay, the Taliban will resume their attacks on the US military, and the number of casualties will rise again.

But the direct talks between the U.S. and the Taliban are just real it has started 2018-and the U.S. casualties It has been relatively low since 2015, and the number of US troops killed in the past five years has been less than 100.

The reality is that the thousands of American and NATO troops remaining in Afghanistan have not engaged in direct combat for several years. The real battle is left to the Afghan army. However, the withdrawal of the United States and other NATO troops had a disastrous impact on the morale of the Afghan government and military. Western experts talked about the surge in contacts with prominent Afghan people who are looking for any opportunity to leave the country.

In contrast, the Taliban sounds very proud and are making Quick return On the war zone. Islamic radicals control important border crossings and now control approximately half of Afghanistan’s 419 areas. They have not yet occupied any capital city. But attacks on major towns may happen within a few weeks-the ultimate goal of the Taliban is to seize the capital Kabul. Even if it proves that the Taliban cannot control major cities, Afghanistan is clearly in a period of intensified civil war.

The human rights consequences of the Taliban’s march may be shocking.There have been reports that the organization is implementing Summary execution And force the girl to enter Sexual slavery In the area it recaptured.Famous Afghan women are often Targeted In the Taliban attack.

In the 20 years since the fall of the Taliban, millions of Afghan girls have been able to go to school. Women make up more than a quarter of the members of the Afghan Parliament. If the Taliban regain power, all these gains will be wiped out.This ongoing tragedy is a mockery of the Biden team announcement It will become “the champion of women and girls all over the world.”

The President of the United States did not turn a blind eye to all this.He recently describe He had a “heartbreaking” encounter with a female student who wanted to become a doctor in Afghanistan, and begged him to let the U.S. military stay in the country. But the President of the United States believes that he cannot demand that American soldiers continue to fight and sacrifice for the rights of people on the other side of the world.

It is true that Biden’s primary moral responsibility is to the American people. But this does not mean that after 20 years of existence, the United States has no continuing moral obligation to the Afghan people. Moreover, due to the low troop losses, there is no real pressure for the country to completely withdraw from the country.

There are also direct US national interests that are still at risk.This Terrorist threat The factors that attracted the United States to Afghanistan have not disappeared. If the Taliban controls the country again, it is likely to become a safe haven for organizations such as Al-Qaida and the Islamic State. Jihadists around the world will also draw people’s attention from the scene of NATO’s defeat in Afghanistan.

This Rise again The Taliban may also trigger new Refugee crisis, As millions of Afghans seek to leave the country.European governments are now worried that 500,000 or more Afghans may arrive EU borders Within a few months.

Biden may think that drawing the line under the Afghan war will allow the United States to focus on more pressing issues. Sadly, he may have just created a new Afghan crisis, which will haunt him again.

gideon.rachman@ft.com

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