0426 GMT June 19, 2021
The United States has finally started to retreat from Afghanistan with the aim of bringing an end to the longest war in its short history. On May 1, the US formally began to withdraw its remaining troops from the Asian country which has unintentionally hosted the US troops for two decades.
The US, under the administration of former president George W. Bush, waged the war on Afghanistan following Al-Qaeda’s terrorist attacks on the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, on September 11, 2001, which led to the deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans.
To divert public attention from the country’s security and intelligence problems, and to escape the opponents’ criticisms, Bush ordered the invasion of Afghanistan in less than a month following the terrorist attacks to punish perpetrators of the deadliest attacks on the US soil in decades.
On October 7, 2001, the US launched “Operation Enduring Freedom” – the official name used by the US government for its war on terror. The US ousted the Taliban government within weeks, which was accused of providing shelter for the late Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and its fighters in Afghanistan.
Throughout its military presence in Afghanistan, the US has always boasted its achievements of bringing peace to the country. But in fact, it has not happened. The US neither succeeded in putting an end to the violence in Afghanistan nor bringing the Taliban to its knees.
In recent years, violence against Afghan civilians, security forces and journalists has intensified and the Taliban have gained the control of more regions in the country.
According to the Costs of War project at Brown University, more than 47,000 Afghan civilians have lost their lives since 2001. The project also estimates that 66,000 to 69,000 Afghan forces have been killed in the same period.
The violence – a result of the unlawful US presence in the country – has also displaced millions of Afghan people inside and outside the country.
According to the UN, 2.7 million Afghans have been forced to flee to Iran, Pakistan and European countries, while four million people have been displaced inside the country.
Sadly, it is the Afghans that are paying the highest price of US adventurism in their homeland.
The two-decade-long war has also caused the deaths of 2,442 American troops, and more than 3,800 US private security contractors, according to the US Defense Department.
The conflict has also claimed the lives of 1,144 personnel from the US’s NATO allies, which also participated in Washington’s failed war.
In addition to suffering heavy losses, the US has also lost billions of dollars in Afghanistan. The Costs of War project has reported that Washington has spent $2.26 trillion in the war that not only weakened the Taliban but strengthened the militant group.
A report by the US Congressional Research Service in March said the Taliban group is in a stronger military position than at any point since 2001 when it was removed from power.
After 20 years of military presence and without any considerable achievement, especially for the Afghan people, the US finally sat down with the militant group in 2020 and signed a peace agreement to end its presence in Afghanistan, which was the Taliban’s main condition for putting its signature on the agreement with the administration of the former US president Donald Trump.
The US-Taliban peace agreement is in fact a victory for the militant group which has forced a country with the most powerful military in the world to retreat and sit down at a negotiating table to listen to its conditions.