The Afghan-American war’s 19th anniversary slowing under the Taliban’s conditions
By: Nina Zevgolis
October seventh marked the 19th anniversary of the start of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. A war that has since taken 14,000 military lives. The war started in May 2001 when the Bush Administration announced the U.S. forces began an air campaign with strikes on Taliban Al Qaeda forces. The NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) was assigned to take control of the peacekeeping mission.
Almost two decades later and the US is still trying to extricate itself from its longest war and debt, having spent USD 975 billion on the Iraq war. One thing remains clear: the only way out is a negotiated peace. The American government had failed more than half of its goals to put an end to the war; toppling the Taliban and liberating Afghan women. Since the war started the only goal met was the assassination of Osama Bin Laden in 2012. Not including the military, 100,00 afghan lives have ended as well as 3,502 NATO.
Arbitration discussions between the Taliban, mujahedin, Afghan Government and the US have been slowly unfolding over the last 2 years. In February, the US and the Taliban Government had signed a peace agreement towards Afghanistan so that the US and NATO allies could withdraw all troops within 14 months granted that the other militants uphold the deal.
The Taliban have now fought 40 of the richest nations on the planet and are in control of at least two-thirds of Afghanistan’s population. Having the upper hand in the middle east for 19 years for the frenzy they caused, they remain a great threat to many countries apart from their neighbours. Fortunately, this past February, the US and the Taliban Government had signed a peace agreement towards Afghanistan. Now the US and NATO allies could withdraw all troops within 14 months granted that the other militants uphold the deal.
While the Taliban remains a threat to regions past the middle east, their joint efforts with the American government could put an end to the miserable war in Afghanistan. Along with the American troops being released back to their homeland, the American Government agreed to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners. Though the US’s initial promise to defeat the Taliban- talks of both sides stepping off are being in place.
Though this relationship with the Taliban and America comes with its benefits, it always comes with its downfalls. To guarantee any appearance of human rights or democracy in Afghanistan, the US military would have to remain their sine die, placing another generation to fight the longest unwinnable war halfway across the world.
The arguments that took place this past February adds that America is irreproachable in their decision to guarantee these values and assumptions concerning their troop’s presence in Afghanistan. Now the boiling question pops at the surface; Should America use troops to enforce democracy or women’s rights in any country where those are deficient or threatened? Or are they to watch democracy yet fall again so their men can rest?
It is argued for America to continue with the Taliban deal, promising some of their troops back for the next 14 months and the remaining to come back by May 2021. Though it is already in place, the military could go through a painful shakedown during the upcoming elections.
This decision isn’t the same as staying in Afghanistan forever- it means that the US would need to keep thousands of troops in Afghanistan post the agreed date. The hope for the U.S and Afghan soldiers to return safely is becoming more fantasy as they could push the agreed date to be almost five years after the negotiation takes place in November 2020.
The security of the intra-Afghan peace deal remains equivocal until someone from either side takes the first step in achieving a better outcome for both America and Afghans. Until then, the Afghan-American war continues fighting day after day and possibly for another half-decade and the Taliban will continue to puppeteer.
*All arguments made and viewpoints expressed within Youth In Politics and its nominal entities do not necessarily reflect the views of the writers or the organization as a whole.
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