U.S. Troops Leave Afghanistan; Afghani People Left in Fear


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Photo by: kfpa.org

Macie Brown, Staff Writer

The war in Afghanistan has been going on for almost 20 years, but recently came to an abrupt end. 

In 2001, after the 9/11 terrorist attack on the twin towers by Al Qaeda, the United States sent troops to Afghanistan to take the Taliban out of power. 

The United States spent trillions of dollars and all of 20 years to train the Afghan army so that when the U.S. left, the country could defend itself. Recently, President Biden made a decision to pull all of the U.S. troops out of Afghanistan. 

The Afghan army surrendered to the Taliban and the president fled the country, allowing the Taliban to not only take over the country but also seize the millions of dollars worth of United States weapons that were left in the country. 

Many United States citizens are conflicted over the president’s decision. Some people think that it is our job to protect the citizens of Afghanistan because America essentially helped the Taliban come to power. In 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan and tried to take the country over. The only group that stood up to them was the Taliban. The United States and Soviet Union could not risk a war with each other without the worry of killing off the other country’s population. Both of them had extremely advanced and powerful weapons. So, instead of attacking the Soviet Union, the U.S. equipped the Taliban with the weapons they needed to fight back. Many people point to this as the start of the Taliban and use it as the reason the U.S. needs to stay and protect the citizens of Afghanistan. 

On the other hand, some people think that we have done all we could do to solve the problem and it is not our fault that the Afghan army surrendered instead of fighting. They believe that if we go back, we will just repeat the last 20 years. 

Jason Maguire served in the Marine Corps for eight years and was deployed to multiple countries, including Afghanistan. He says that our main concern should be getting the people who have helped the U.S. safely out of Afghanistan. “Our responsibility as a country is to Americans who are still there. If we can evacuate those who helped us then we should do what we can,” Maguire said.

Maguire says that it is unfortunate we can’t help everyone, but he doesn’t think it is our job to. He says that we have done our part and we can’t “police” the whole world. There are some countries that you can’t help, and a government like the U.S. has will take years to build. Maguire says the United States can’t keep using its resources on Afghanistan and at some point, the people of Afghanistan have to take ownership of their problem. 

Deleskia Butler served in the Army for 25 years and is now retired. She was deployed to Afghanistan during her service. Butler’s opinion is similar to Maguires. “As for Afghanistan right now, establish some type of safe area as well as help facilitate personnel leaving for safety,” Butler Said.

Butler says that she thinks pulling the troops out was a decision that needed to be made for the safety of our troops and that right now, our main concern should be getting Americans out safe. She says we need to focus on coming up with a way to get everyone over there who has helped the U.S. out of the country. 

Butler thinks another thing that adds to the ongoing problem that should worry America is the United States leaving millions of dollars worth of weapons in Afghanistan. “We, as well as the Middle East, have to prepare our forces for the impossible at all times,” Butler said. 

Butler says that you never know what the U.S. has planned. She says everyone should be prepared, but the Taliban may or may not have those weapons much longer depending on what the U.S. has planned.

Maguire agrees that the U.S. leaving weapons in Afghanistan was a big mistake. “Well, essentially we have armed the enemy. We have also helped further the technological advancement of any country that may have not had access to the particular weapon system or platform we have,” Maguire said.

Maguire said that a good thing is the U.S. doesn’t sell or give away the newest models of our weapons, so the United States still has more advanced weapons than what they left for the Taliban. Maguire says even though that is a positive, the weapons the United States has equipt that Taliban with are still very deadly and you never know how they will use them.

The situation in Afghanistan is particularly bad for women. When the Taliban previously had control of the country, women could not leave their homes without a male relative, they couldn’t be educated, and they couldn’t let their faces be seen at any time. If they do any of these things, they can be stoned, kidnapped, or be given any other punishment the Taliban sees fit. 

The Taliban recently said that they will be more considerate of women’s rights this time when they are in power. “I am not optimistic about how life will be for women in Afghanistan. I truly think that even if it is slightly better for them under this “new Taliban” it will never be even close to how women are treated in western countries,” Maguire said. 

Maguire said that as long as the Taliban are in power, women will always be treated as second-class citizens at best. 

Butler says the U.S. can use our experience with this situation to learn in case something like this happens again. “As we have entry plans, we need to also have developed exit strategies as well. Possibly have small teams to stay behind when we leave,” Butler said.