It must be said that the cost of the Biden administration rushing to end “the longest war in U.S. history” is too high. The world must move quickly to bring the chaos in Afghanistan under control.
The Afghan Islamist Taliban has taken over the capital city of Kabul. After Afghan President Ashraf Ghani sought refuge outside of the country, the Taliban-led force had an unobstructed view to establishing control.
The image of gun-wielding combatants in the presidential palace is an indication of how they have gained control through power and fear. In such circumstances, will the the legitimacy of the Taliban’s control be recognized by other nations?
The Taliban controlled the region until 2001. During that time, extremist policies such as disavowing democracy and banning education for women and girls were adopted.
Taliban leadership this time has indicated that citizen’s property and the safety of evacuees will be protected, but it is doubtful all Taliban combatants will obey this ideology. Rampant pillaging is already being reported.
Afghan citizens may feel they have been abandoned by the world. There are concerns that U.S. allies and officials of the Ghani administration will be suffer retaliation and that women will be increasingly oppressed.
It is clear that the hasty withdrawal of U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan is behind the Taliban’s sudden aggression. The morale of Afghan soldiers declined and soldiers were routed, one after another, without a fight.
Just last month, President Joe Biden indicated that he was optimistic the Afghan government forces could defend Kabul. The Afghan forces certainly outnumber that of the Taliban, but it was the U.S. military’s aerial bombing and provision of information that was actually supporting their fighting capabilities.
Biden’s responsibility for persisting with the August withdrawal of troops in consideration of U.S. public opinion is heavy. Even considering the absence of leadership from the Ghani administration and the U.S. seeking to distribute military forces against China, the exit strategy was less than adequate.
Since the simultaneous terrorist attacks of 2001, the United States has worked to bring about the collapse of the Taliban and to lead Afghanistan toward establishing a democracy. Japan and Europe, as well as many other nations, invested large amounts of money and personnel to support the reconstruction of Afghanistan.
If Afghanistan relapses to an undemocratic nation and again becomes a hotbed for terrorism and extremists, 20 years of international cooperation could all be for nothing. The chaos in Afghanistan increases the danger of international terror attacks.
It is necessary to establish a framework, based in the United Nations, for discussing involvement in the situation in Afghanistan for nations concerned with controlling the violence and stabilizing the area. China and Russia should be in line with Japan, the United States and Europe, rather than leaning toward the Taliban.