Updates on American Influence in Afghanistan

Rylan Ferguson, Staff Writer

America and the Taliban had never had a good relationship as the Taliban had funded and supported many terrorist groups that had always wanted death on America this includes ISIS, Al Qaeda, ISIS-K and many more small terrorist and mulita groups many of these terrorists groups have hated and wanted to cause havoc on Americans and on American soil for many years but the United States didn’t take extreme steps of going to war with the Taliban and these radical terrorist groups until 9/11 when 19 men from the terrorist group Al Qaeda whose leader Osama bin Laden planned the attacks on World Trade Center or WTC for short. The 19 men took four planes on Tuesday, September 11th, 2001; the first plane (American Airlines Flight 11) crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 a.m. ET. The second plane (United Airlines Flight 175) crashed into the South Tower of the WTC at 9:03 a.m. ET. The third plane (American Airlines Flight 77) hits the pentagon building at 9:37 a.m. ET. Then at 9:59 a.m. ET the south tower at the WTC collapses in approximately 10 seconds. The last plane (United Airlines Flight 93) finally crashes in an open field in Shanksville Pennsylvania at 10:03 a.m. ET which was apparently headed towards the White House in Washington D.C. but the brave men and women on that flight decided to take the plane back from the hijackers and fought them enough to make them crash in a field killing everyone on board but saving countless lives in Washington D.C. and stopping another attack in the United States. (the timeline above is according to CNN.com https://www.cnn.com/2013/07/27/us/september-11-anniversary-fast-facts/index.html) On October 7th, 2001 George W. Bush announces to the American people that the US has declared war on the Taliban and Al Qaeda in the Treaty Room of the White House and one of his note cards for the speech said “On my orders a little more than an hour ago, The United States Military began strikes against Al Qaeda terrorist training camps and military installations of the Taliban Regime in Afghanistan.” (this was according to the George W. Bush Library https://www.georgewbushlibrary.smu.edu/en/Topics/GWOT ) Then on May 2nd, United States President Barack Obama announced the successful Assassination of Osama Bin Laden in his compound in the countryside of Abbottabad, Pakistan. Then a little less than 10 years later then President Donald Trump announces that the United States had an agreement with the leader of the Taliban that the Taliban will remain civil and will not wreak havoc on Afghanistan or America and is not allowed to start any wars in Afghanistan or the US will come back and fight as he said at a CPAC conference According to (10 WBNS TV https://www.10tv.com/article/news/verify/world-verify/afghanistan-troops-withdraw-deal-taliban-trump-biden/536-a68f951a-6bfe-4408-9d3b-96e85e425e45 ) they said “ As part of the deal, the U.S. committed to withdrawing military forces from Afghanistan within 14 months of the announced agreement, which was May 2021.

The Trump administration praised the agreement in a press release on Feb. 29, 2020. That same day, Trump acknowledged the deal during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

“For years, they’ve been trying to do this, and today the United States signed a deal with the Taliban so that we can hopefully begin the immediate process of finally bringing our troops back home,” Trump said.

The Obama administration had expressed a desire to withdraw American forces from Afghanistan, but it didn’t happen.

A June 2021 report from the Congressional Research Service said as part of the Trump administration’s deal to withdraw American troops, “the Taliban committed to preventing other groups, including Al Qaeda, from using Afghan soil to recruit, train, or fundraise toward activities that threaten the United States or its allies.” While the Trump administration made the agreement with the Taliban, the Biden administration made the decision to move ahead with entirely withdrawing troops.” The 2020 presidential election had a significant role in what happened in Afghanistan. Under the Biden Administration, the Taliban took over Afghanistan within a month. The Taliban made a deadline to the United States for all troops and Citizens to leave by August 31st, 2021. The United States Government originally planned to leave by 9/11 but was cut short due to the complete takeover of the Afghan government by the Taliban according to fact check.org https://www.factcheck.org/2021/09/how-many-americans-and-allies-are-left-in-afghanistan/ ) “We believe there are still a small number of Americans, under 200 and likely closer to 100, who remain in Afghanistan and want to leave. We’re trying to determine exactly how many,” Blinken said in an Aug. 30 speech.” There is still proof that many Americans are still in Afghanistan as many big news networks have interviewed the American Civilians and they even say there are around 1,000 Americans still in Kabul and other parts of Afghanistan. According to Joe Biden in a press conference a couple weeks ago he said that his Administration has given the Taliban a list of Americans still in Afghanistan and where they are located. Which is very scary considering the Taliban is an enemy of the US and giving a list to the Taliban of the American citizens still in Afghanistan can be very dire to these Americans. The men will probably be executed, and the Women will probably be sex slaves for the Taliban as this has been done in the past with any enemies of the Taliban. The next segment will be the Pros of leaving Afghanistan with interviews of students on how they feel about the entire situation.
One of the Pros of The United States and other Ally countries leaving is the bloodshed of American troops and other Ally Troops are over. According to the Washington Post (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/08/20/afghanistan-war-key-numbers/ ) they said “2,352 The number of U.S. military members who have died in Afghanistan as of this month, per the Defense Department. The U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, SIGAR, puts this figure slightly higher, at 2,443 dead.” That is only US troops that’s not including the troops of other countries troops or the number of American civilians that have died in this war. That number is not as high as the number of US soldiers that died in the Vietnam war which was 58,220 US soldiers and 416,800 US soldiers that died in WWII. There was still bloodshed in Afghanistan and over 2,000 deaths are bad considering people died and never got to live out the rest of there lives. Another good thing about leaving Afghanistan is military spending should cut down considering there is not a war going on anymore as of right now it should help the United States debt which according to Data Lab.gov (https://datalab.usaspending.gov/americas-finance-guide/debt/ ) they say “By the end of 2020, the federal government had $26.95 trillion in federal debt.” According to the Peter G. Peterson Foundation (https://www.pgpf.org/chart-archive/0053_defense-comparison ) they say “Defense spending accounts for more than 10 percent of all federal spending and nearly half of discretionary spending. Total discretionary spending — for both defense and nondefense purposes — is typically only about one-third of the annual federal budget. It is currently below its historical average as a share of GDP and is projected to decline further.” But there are definitely more Cons to me then Pros of the United States pulling out of Afghanistan and that’s what I will talk about next.
There are many Cons to the United States Pulling out of Afghanistan. There are many reasons the United States shouldn’t have pulled out of Afghanistan, especially all at once. Like I said in the introduction once the United States announced that they were pulling out of Afghanistan it only took less than a month for the Taliban to take control back of Afghanistan as they lead the country before back in 2001 before the United States came in and overthrew them out of the government as they were only supposed to control Afghanistan for a couple months. One reason it was so easy for the Taliban to take control of Afghanistan was because the soldiers that were trained for the Afghan military didn’t know what they were doing (INSERT QUOTE HERE ONCE SOURCE IS FOUND) Not only that but the United States left a lot of Equipment for the Taliban according to USA Today (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2021/08/30/what-military-equipment-left-behind-afghanistan-us/5658895001/ ) this was how much equipment was left behind “The military left behind 27 Humvees, light tactical vehicles that were replaced by MRAPs in Iraq and Afghanistan after they proved vulnerable to IED attacks. A Humvee’s price tag was less than one-third of an MRAP.

Aircraft
On the airstrip, the military left 73 aircraft. McKenzie didn’t specify what kinds of aircraft, whether helicopter or fixed-wing.

“Those aircraft will never fly again,” he said. Pentagon officials acknowledged, and photos showed, that the soldiers operated Apache attack helicopters at the airport. A new one costs more than $30 million.

Afghan pilots flew some of the advanced aircraft to foreign countries. Much of the rest was abandoned.” In the same Article it also said “As many as 70 MRAPs, Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles built to withstand blasts from improvised explosive devices, were left behind. They have been credited by the Pentagon with saving the lives and limbs of thousands of troops. The vehicles cost about $1 million apiece.” Also, it said in the same article it talked about the costs of the equipment left behind as it says, “The U.S. military likely abandoned tens of millions of dollars’ worth of aircraft, armored vehicles and sophisticated defensive systems in the rush to leave the airport in Kabul safely.” Not only do we have to worry about the Taliban using Equipment left by the United States Government, which is all paid for by American tax dollars, but we also must worry about another attack on US soil like 9/11 but it is very possible now that the Attack could be a lot worse since now the Taliban has funding coming from China which is now one of the top superpowers in the world. The Taliban see’s the United States as weak now since the United States just gave them Afghanistan and now knows there is nothing to fear if they attack the US and has backed funding from China and Pakistan. Another Con of the United States leaving Afghanistan is the Women of Afghanistan are now in trouble as they will no longer be given an education despite what the Taliban says. As the Taliban have always been a group on discriminating women and that they only belong in the home not only that many women might now become sex slaves of the Taliban as I said before that is usually what the Taliban do to women. According to the US department of State (https://2001-2009.state.gov/g/drl/rls/6185.htm ) they say “Afghanistan under the Taliban had one of the worst human rights records in the world. The regime systematically repressed all sectors of the population and denied even the most basic individual rights. Yet the Taliban’s war against women was particularly appalling.

Women are imprisoned in their homes, and are denied access to basic health care and education. Food sent to help starving people is stolen by their leaders. The religious monuments of other faiths are destroyed. Children are forbidden to fly kites, or sing songs… A girl of seven is beaten for wearing white shoes -President George W. Bush, Remarks to the Warsaw Conference on Combating Terrorism, November 6, 2001.” This is why the United States needed to stay longer once the Taliban started to take control again of Afghanistan because now women there are frowned upon and can’t even get an education. There is a long list of cons for why the United States shouldn’t have left Afghanistan, but those Cons are the main reasons why I think we shouldn’t have left. The next part of this is what other students think about America Leaving Afghanistan.