Biden’s Afghanistan Pullout

In April of this year, President Joe Biden announced that the US will have pulled American troops out of Afghanistan completely by September 11th of 2021.

In April of this year, President Joe Biden announced that the US will have pulled American troops out of Afghanistan completely by September 11th of 2021. This extends the deadline set by the negotiations done by the Trump administration and the Taliban, but only by a few months. 

This decision comes after years of simultaneous war and negotiation by the US in Afghanistan. When the war started with the Bush administration, the main goals of the war were to a) eliminate the Taliban and b) centralize the government of Afghanistan. Both these goals helped consolidate several forces into two sides: the pro-Taliban and the pro-Afghan government. Individual leaders were prevented from attempting to seize power and cause further internal conflict because of American presence and focus on eliminating the Taliban, but the Afghan government was viewed by the Taliban as a mere puppet of the American government. While at first this did not matter, as American military victories made negotiation seem unnecessary, the leverage Americans had during the beginning of the war faded away due to the thousands of lives lost and the millions of dollars spent. Thus, the negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban were unsuccessful because of the hostility developed between the two. As such, the removal of American influence will, in the Biden administration’s point of view, aid in negotiations in the Afghan conflict and provide an opportunity to pursue other avenues of military conflict, such as technology innovation, domestic security, and other international threats. 

This map shows the regions of Afghanistan that are controlled by the Taliban. Evidently, large fractions of the country are controlled by the Taliban, posing a significant threat to any hope for stability and peace.

Biden’s decision does, however, come with numerous consequences. For one, individual leaders that were once forced to focus on a broader conflict within Afghanistan may begin to fight amongst themselves for power, adding more violence to the situation. Another problem is the concern that there will be a spread of control of the Taliban; in rural areas of Afghanistan, Taliban control already infringes upon the rights of several groups.

One such example is Musa Qala, a district in the southern part of Afghanistan. For more than five years now, the Taliban have been enforcing some of the rules of Sharia, or Islamic religious law. This requires women to be accompanied by a male companion outside the home, encouraging them to pursue a domestic life, following religious rules surrounding things like adultery and theft, and paying—sometimes unfair—taxes, all in the face of violent punishment due to Taliban rule. Although constantly faced with pushback from Afghan forces, the Taliban have been able to retain their hold on these rural areas because of the tax revenue they use to fund their organization and the indoctrination of school aged boys into the organization. If the support for the Afghan government were to dwindle in urban areas like Kabul, Taliban numbers are expected to rise and this fate will befall more of Afghanistan.

Ultimately, the Biden administration’s decision to pull out from Afghanistan is based upon the idea that American forces are better utilized elsewhere, but this decision does not come without clear and dangerous consequences. As Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash) asserts, “We cannot impose a solution on Afghanistan. I don’t doubt for a second there is going to continue to be violence and turbulence…We can only be in so many places. We have to make choices, and those choices are not easy.”

NEED CONCLUSION SENTENCE.  Considering this volatile and turbulent reality…..