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Biden Is Right to Withdraw from Afghanistan

Armand Yazdani

Posted on July 5, 2021 19:14

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The American president's decision is the most productive, life-saving alternative to this nearly endless war.

Following President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan, US soldiers left the militarily significant Bagram Airbase. After 19 years of war in Afghanistan, American troops will leave the bitter conflict, which saw heavy losses bilaterally. Biden vowed to pull troops out by Sep. 11 this year, the 20 year anniversary of al Qaeda’s 9/11 terror attacks. However, some politicians across the aisle and even politically aligned with Biden have criticized his decision. Moderate Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire said she was “very disappointed” US troops would be “walking away” from Afghanistan. But progressive politicians backed the president’s move, with Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont saying Biden made “a brave and right decision.” Although the departure of US troops from Afghanistan could mean empowering the Taliban, it’s high time the US left. 


It’s no secret the Afghan War has taken a heavy toll on both American and its allies’ forces and Afghan civilians. Since the war began in 2001, 2,312 American troops have died and 20,066 were wounded. And far more Afghans have died in the conflict. Around 47,600 Afghan civilians died in the war, with this number being a conservative estimate. According to The Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs, 2,375 Afghan civilians died within the first year of the war. And unfortunately, many of these deaths weren’t only caused by Afghanistan’s Taliban terror group, but by US forces. Afghan civilian deaths to American and allied airstrikes rose 330% since 2017, with 700 civilians dead in 2019 alone. Therefore, the war not only caused the deaths of thousands of Americans but also many more civilians.


With the death toll of civilians and American troops taken into consideration, Taliban casualties indicate why the war was fruitless. There have been nearly 51,000 Taliban casualties in the war versus Afghanistan’s 69,000 armed forces and police officers’ casualties, according to data from Brown University. These casualty disparities alone may not demonstrate how ineffective the war was, but this was the US’s longest war in history. Afghan losses were so high that Kabul concealed casualty numbers. Unfortunately, the Taliban has only amassed territory since the war began, with the group controlling 19% of Afghan districts whilst the Afghan government only controls 33% with up to 85,000 fighters dedicated to their cause. Some organizations such as the Council on Foreign Relations even claim that the Taliban are at their strongest in 2021. 


Biden’s decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan was a productive and ultimately life-saving choice. Whether or not the US’s longest war was good-intentioned, thousands of American troops died and many more Afghans died whilst the Taliban could actually have gotten empowered. The presence of US troops there has clearly done little to purge the country of terrorism and an American withdrawal is the most practical alternative. 

Armand Yazdani

Posted on July 5, 2021 19:14

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