New Delhi. For the last four months, the US President has been repeatedly repeating one thing that he does not want to hand over the Afghanistan war to the fifth US President. It is clearly evident from his statement that he was no longer in favor of taking the war that started 20 years ago. Since 2001, each president has tried in his or her own way to improve the mission to cope with the conflict in Afghanistan, resulting in the deaths of thousands of Americans and Afghans, but the Taliban did not give up. In front of the stubborn attitude, there was only disappointment in the reform of the political leadership in Afghanistan.
Biden issued a statement regarding his decision to withdraw US troops, saying that the removal of troops was an urgent action because the purpose for which he was there was no longer visible, as did former President Donald Trump. This is a decision taken under the agreement that was signed with the Taliban. Last week he said the chaos that erupted in pulling out Americans and Afghans who were aiding in the war was predictable and could not be avoided.
But handing over the country to the Taliban in this way and the quiet exit of Kabul raises many questions. How America spent 20 years in Afghanistan, how its troops were removed to hand over control to the Taliban, will be the subject of decades of research and discussion for historians, who will be responsible for this entire chronology.
Four thread operators of America’s longest war-
George W. Bush
After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, which was planned by Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, then US President George W. Bush took an oath to destroy global terrorism. He contacted the Taliban, who controlled almost all of Afghanistan, and asked him to hand over the al-Qaeda leaders hiding in their country, including Osama bin Laden, but when the Taliban made no contact with the US, America took steps on a war footing. Congress decided to take military action against those responsible for 9/11 on September 18, 2001, although lawmakers never explicitly voted in support for military action in Afghanistan. Bush told Congress two days later in a joint session that this action would be a longer campaign than any other action. Although even Bush had no idea that this war would go on for so long.
On October 7, 2001, the US military officially announced Operation Permanent Independence with the help of the United Kingdom, the initial phase of the war involving airstrikes targeting Al Qaeda and the Taliban. But in November, a team of 1300 American soldiers also reached Afghanistan. This figure grew in the months to come, as US and Afghan forces toppled the Taliban government and followed bin Laden, who was hiding in the Toro Bora complex, a cave southeast of Kabul. However, bin Laden managed to escape to Pakistan by crossing the border.
In the coming months and years, Bush sent more troops to Afghanistan to combat Taliban aggressors, announcing at the Pentagon in May 2003 that the major war in Afghanistan was over, now the target country of the US and its other international partners. I had to establish a Western-style democratic political system by implementing law and order again. In this way the strictness of the Taliban present there ended and thousands of girls and women were allowed to go to school and work. But America was disappointed by the corruption present in the Afghan government and thus the Taliban started raising their face again.
At the same time, Washington’s attention was turned towards the second war, at this time Iran was in front, due to which both attention and military resources were diverted from Afghanistan. At the same time, when the elections were held, Bush was re-elected in 2004, now the number of troops in Afghanistan had reached 20,000, while America’s full attention was focused on what was going on in Iraq. In the coming years, the concentration of American troops in Afghanistan continued to increase. At the same time, the Taliban was strengthening its hold in the rural areas of the south. When Bush lost the election in 2009, 30,000 soldiers were present here and the Taliban was engaged in insurgency with full force.
In 2009, Barack Obama had come to the White House and he inherited the war from Bush. At the time, top generals recommended a jump in the level of the army to weaken the Taliban, which was engaged in relentless attacks. After a long internal debate, Obama decided to send another 10,000 troops to Afghanistan, although Vice President Biden opposed the attack during the debate. At the same time a withdrawal schedule was set, according to which the process of withdrawing troops from 2011 onwards would be started and the scale of the ongoing war with the Taliban and al-Qaeda would be assessed. Obama said during a televised program that the additional troop would help transfer responsibility from the US to Afghanistan, but later aides said Obama was feeling trapped by the military commanders’ retaliatory policy.
By August 2020, the military force in Afghanistan had reached 1 lakh, but US intelligence came to know of bin Laden being in another country, this country was Pakistan, where he was killed in a Navy SEAL attack in May 2011, after Obama announced the withdrawal of the US military, fulfilling the goal of assuming the security responsibility from Afghanistan by 2014. In the coming years, the US engaged in diplomacy with the leaders of Afghanistan, and thus the number of troops decreased sharply. In his second term, along with the members of his team, he established a vision for the country, which was – Afghan is better. Is. It was an attempt to establish a Western-style democracy that was completely hopeless; on December 31, 2014, Obama announced the end of the massive war.
Now America had turned its mission towards training and helping the Afghan army. With the lack of a military force, the blueprint for a complete withdrawal of him was drawn during Obama’s tenure. But a year later, when Obama’s term was nearing its end, Obama pulled out of the prospect of a full troop withdrawal in view of Afghanistan’s fragile security situation. When he left office, there were 10,000 troops stationed in Afghanistan, and Obama said in a statement that the next president would decide what decision he had to make.
As presidential candidate, Trump had vowed to bring back US troops from Afghanistan, but continued attacks from the Taliban and growing ties to Islamic states have made it difficult for him to fulfill the promise. In his first major Afghanistan decision, Trump outsourced military-level authority from the Pentagon. His team was divided into two parts, first among his military advisers who continued to advocate the presence of hardline nationalists and second among those who opposed foreign interference.
Later in August 2017, Trump admitted that he had thought that he would withdraw the US military, but given the situation, this is impossible. He left the American presence entirely on the future and refused to give any specific date or time frame for it, but said that what will be decided next will determine the situation on the ground.
A year later, Trump tasked veteran Afghan-American envoy Zalmay Khalilzad to negotiate an end to the war with the Taliban. In this talks, the Afghan government was mostly kept out, due to which there was a rift between the US and President Ashraf Ghani. Meanwhile, the Taliban continued to carry out attacks, including the attack on Kabul where many innocent civilians lost their lives. Trump then called a peace talks at Camp David in 2019 and later postponed it, but discussions with Khalilzad continued.
After this, an agreement was made in February 2020 in which, in exchange for the complete withdrawal of US forces, a promise was taken from the Taliban that it would reduce incidents of violence and break its ties with terrorist organizations. But there was no mention of promises made in the Pentagon to implement but not fulfilled. Even leaving the US army in place, the Taliban gained strength and the deadline for the complete withdrawal of US forces on May 2021 went to the account of Trump’s next successor.
Joe Biden started thinking about Afghanistan even before he took office in January. He was now in a position to make a decision to end the needless war after Obama’s tenure had followed his advice to withdraw US forces from Afghanistan. In the early months of his presidency, Biden had received advice from his National Security Advisory team that the withdrawal of the army from Afghanistan would result in a complete collapse of the government and Afghanistan would return to Taliban control. In contrast, Trump’s deal with the Taliban had a deadline of May, after which the US military could also be attacked.
Eventually Joe Biden announced that the remaining 2500 troops in Afghanistan would be withdrawn by September 11, 2001, thus making it clear that the US’s objective had been met and that it was now time to make Afghanistan a permanent democratic country. There is nothing left to do.
As the Pentagon worked to swiftly pull out its forces, so did the deadline, on July 2 the Bagram airfield, a symbol of US military might, was handed over to the Afghan military. On the other hand, attacks on the capitals of the provinces of the Taliban were continuing, and in most places the Afghan army was handing over its state to the Taliban without any opposition.
On August 15, the Taliban captured Kabul when Ashraf Ghani fled the country. Seeing the collapse of Afghanistan, American officials said that it happened faster than expected. The US and its allies hastily launched a mission to evacuate civilians and Afghan allies who had cooperated during the war, fearing retaliation.
Biden sent a team of 6,000 soldiers back to Afghanistan to secure Kabul’s international airport Hamid Karzai and thus evacuate people, but the new deadline for this troop to leave—August 31—still is present. The Taliban have called this the red line and now Biden has to decide whether to expand there or return.