The fat lady has sung. President Biden said “it’s time to end America’s longest war.” But is this a mistake or necessary evil?
While members of congress bicker about whether or not Biden made the right decision to conclude the war in Afghanistan, the U.S. taxpayer spending bill just got cheaper.
For two decades, the United States has spent $300 million per day in Afghanistan. Added to the costs, U.S. taxpayers have been doling out $750 million a year in payroll for Afghan soldiers.
The decision to pull out of Afghanistan came after the G7 agreed that the best way to secure a stable democracy there is by pulling back. Biden claims that doing so would protect the United States against terrorism, while supporting the Afghan people with humanitarian and developmental assistance.
“G7 leaders, and the leaders of the EU, NATO, and the U.N., all agreed that we will stand united in our approach to the Taliban,” declared Biden.
They devised a plan that would create a safe and legal path to asylum for Afghans in need. As well, their plan would allow time to deal with the new Afghan regime in a unified and concerted way.
“Together with our partners and allies, we will continue to use every humanitarian and diplomatic lever to safeguard human rights and protect the gains made over the last two decades,” asserted United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
More than that, the longer troops stay, the more the risk of a terrorist attack by ISIS-K grows, according to Biden.
“[President Biden] made a commitment to the American people when he ran for president that he would bring America’s military involvement in Afghanistan to an end. It’s the right decision,” tweeted Vice President Kamala Harris.
On the other side of the aisle, Biden’s “act of solidarity” could not have come at a worse time. The Taliban gained control of Afghanistan as U.S. troops began to leave in August. In a rush, U.S. forces in alliance with other foreign militaries, worked to evacuate Afghans whose lives were in danger for supporting the occupation. With the Taliban’s recent overthrow of an already weak Afghan government has destabilized the region further.
Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnel tweeted, “President Biden’s reckless decisions in Afghanistan have alienated our NATO allies and weakened our global efforts against terror.”
Could a Taliban coup really have been avoided?
If we had access to a time machine, then perhaps. The first time the Taliban reared its head in Afghanistan was in the 1990’s. The sociopolitical climate at that time consisted of a civil war between anti-Soviet factions, which paved the way for the rise of the extremist organization.
Before the most recent coup, Afghans were both grateful to and deeply resentful of Americans. On one hand, Afghan civilians thanked the progress that has been made toward democracy. On the other, they resent Americans for involving themselves in their affairs.
An Afghan source who wishes to remain anonymous said, “The British. The Soviets. The Americans. The warlords. The Taliban. The Americans again . . . We didn’t ask for any of them.”
This situation is a double edged sword, unwinnable for the United States according to US Air Force Colonel and Nebraska Air Force Base Station Commander, Jack Weinstein.
Leaving Afghan citizens to suffer under the Taliban regime and staying would mean never ending wars with them and other insurrectionist groups like ISIS. Conversely, Biden could have alternatively gone against the G7 and kept U.S. military presence in Afghanistan.
However, President Trump’s uninhibited statements at G7 press conferences left the North American nation in a precarious position with the international intergovernmental economic organization. Then of course, is the implication that this alternative puts U.S. troops in jeopardy while increasing the risk of a domestic terrorist attack.
For Commander Weinstein, it seems the only way to victory is if the Afghans regain control of the country and protect civilians.
Could this long term plan cost Biden midterm elections?
Biden almost met his self-imposed August 31 deadline of leaving Afghanistan. Ninety percent of Americans in the beleaguered country were able to evacuate according to Biden. “We got thousands of Afghan translators, interpreters and others who supported the United States out as well,” said Biden.
Contrarily, U.S. Department of State Interpreter Fatima expressed that she tried to evacuate but was unsuccessful. Instead, herself and her family, as well as many other allies were beaten and pushed away from airport gates. “They say on social media we are helping our allies. How many of your allies have been evacuated?”
Biden stated that his administration remains committed to get Americans out if they want to leave, but this move might not be enough for the midterm elections.
Right before the Taliban seized control of the Afghan government, Biden’s approval rating took a dip. Attributed to the uptick of COVID-19, CNN reports that a Gallup poll showed Biden’s approval at 49 percent, down from 56 percent in June. Some claim that citizens are losing faith in 46. Currently, Biden’s approval rating is 47.2 percent.
To complicate issues of the country, the Department of Labor reported a significant slump in job growth. In August, only 235,000 jobs were added in comparison to the last three months showing an average growth of 750,000.
With the coming 2022 midterm elections, the Democrats’ ability to maintain control of Congress is a concern for the Biden Administration. Compounding the health crisis with the current weak economy, and the looming threat of a terrorist attack on U.S. soil, places Dems on the defense.
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