A total of 2300 US soldiers were killed in Afghanistan, and more than 20,000 were injured. $2.26 trillion in spending! Following Taliban takeover of Kabul on August 16, 2021 the infamous Afgan war officially ended. As a result of fighting the “longest war” in its history, the United States is now witnessing a complete failure in Afghanistan, a country also known as “the Graveyard of Empires.” While Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled to another country after the Taliban seized Kabul on Sunday, a U.S-led military operation began airlifting Western diplomats, civilian refugees, and Afghans who could be targeted by Afghanistan’s new rulers. A little from the history Al-Qaeda’s twin tower terror attack on September 11, 2001, shook the United States. On October 7, 2001, the United States began a war in Afghanistan in an effort to destroy Al-Qaeda and under the guise of strengthening local and global security. Kabul was quickly occupied by the United States, which dismantled the Taliban government. However, it did not cease to operate. Instead, it increased the number of troops in Afghanistan in 2010. Afghanistan was garrisoned by 100,000 American troops at its peak. The war consisted of three phases, toppling the Taliban (the ultraconservative political and religious faction that ruled Afghanistan and provided sanctuary for al-Qaeda, the perpetrators of the September 11 attacks) was the first phase and lasted for just two months. The second and third phases were equally brief. First, there was a military campaign against the Taliban from 2002 until 2008, and then there was an effort to rebuild Afghanistan’s core institutions. It began in 2008 and intensified in 2009 with President Barack Obama’s decision to temporarily increase U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan. A new Afghan government took over in 2004 after Nato allies joined the US, but deadly Taliban attacks continued. Barack Obama’s “troop surge” in 2009 helped push back Taliban forces, but it was short-lived. When Nato’s international forces ended their combat mission in Afghanistan in 2014, it was the bloodiest year since 2001. The Afghan army assumed responsibility for security. The Taliban seized more territory as a result of this. Although peace talks between the United States and the Afghan Taliban began tentatively, without much involvement from the Afghan government, it was in Qatar in February 2020 that an agreement on a withdrawal was reached. US-Taliban deal failed to stop Taliban attacks, as the Taliban shifted to assassination campaigns against Afghan security forces and civilians. Their control areas expanded. Who or what is Taliban? After the withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1989, they emerged primarily in the south-west and the Pakistan border areas, where they remain today. However, they also adhered to an austere form of Islam, vowing to fight corruption and improve security in their country. Almost all of the country was under their control by the year 1998. In addition to harsh punishments, they imposed their own hardline version of Sharia, or Islamic law. Men were forced to grow beards, and women were forced to wear the burka, a full-coverage garment that covered the entire body. Television, music, and the cinema were all outlawed. As soon as they were ousted, they regrouped in Pakistan. It is estimated that they have up to 85,000 full-time fighters, making them stronger than they have been since 2001.Today the Talibans are the new rulers of Afganistan, how? The theoretically 350,000 men from Afghanistan’s national army and police are supposed to be a powerful deterrent to Taliban. But the U.S. pulled its air support, intelligence, and service providers for Afghanistan’s planes and helicopters following Vice President Joe Biden’s withdrawal plans. The government of Afghanistan says it is deeply deceived by the decision to withdraw. His decision to withdraw US military personnel from Afghanistan is “squarely behind” Biden says. But he admits that the Taliban has taken over much faster than he anticipates. He laid great blame on the Afghan army for not fighting with the insurgents. Current Situation Sunday, following President Ashraf Ghani’s departure, Taliban forces entered the capital, effectively stopping US and other Western nations’ 20-year effort to restructure Afghanistan as a modern democracy. In February of last year the U.S. forces were supported in part by an agreement with Trump, which was later set by President Biden as the date of their exit. In recent weeks the Taliban have expanded their footprint with Afghan government forces losing its air cover and desertion, with the last remaining cities, including Kabul, falling under their control by the middle of August. Afghans who worked with Western forces or agencies have rushed to the airport to escape reprisals. Masses of people from Afghanistan ran alongside military transport aircraft while they were preparing for departure and some people were trying to stick to the aircraft’s sides. Some western ambassadors have transferred staff in order to evacuate personnel to Hamid Karzai International Airport. More than 60 countries are issuing a joint statement that they have to be permitted to leave Afghanistan by Afghans and international citizens. The United States Government and countries including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Qatar and the United Kingdom. They say that “they are responsible for the protection of human life and property who are in positions of power and authority in Afghanistan.” The US has frozen almost $9.5 billion in central bank assets and halted the country’s cash shipments. It tries to prevent a Taliban-led government from having access to money, a government official says. The Taliban remain on the list of sanctions designated by the Treasury Department. Zabihullah Mujahid, Taliban spokesman, claimed that Afghan territory could not be used as an assault on any country. “I would like to ensure I would like to assure the international community, including the United States, that nobody will be harmed,” he said at the group’s first news conference in Kabul. “In Afghanistan, I would like to assure our neighbors, our original countries we are not going to allow our territory to be used against anybody or any country in the world. So the whole global community should be assured that we are committed to these pleasures that you will not be harmed.” he said during a news conference.
Written By Radhika Peiris