After 20 years of unsuccessful US military involvement in Afghanistan, attempting to keep the Taliban out of power, the Biden administration was in the process of pulling the last 3,000 US troops from Afghanistan. Then, yesterday, the Taliban took control of the government, and the Afghan president fled the country. The New York Times wrote, “Though not a formal surrender, it might as well have been.” Not only is this an issue of international politics, but of human rights. Under Taliban rule, Afghanistan faces the possibility of reverting to strict interpretations of Islam that deny women the right to learn, drive a car, or do something as simple as go shopping on their own. Many people in Afghanistan are deeply worried about what the future of their country looks like with the Taliban in charge. When civilian air travel was halted, many people flooded the tarmac at the Kabul airport, clinging onto a US military plane that was evacuating in an attempt to escape. The Taliban has stated that they do not intend to harm civilians in Kabul and that in taking the city, they are trying to ensure public safety, but reports have indicated that they are targeting people who have worked with the United States.
In a statement from President Biden this afternoon he defended his decision to pull troops from Afghanistan and made his intentions in the region clear. He focused strongly on the initial intentions in the region to avoid potential terrorist attacks after 9/11. “Our mission in Afghanistan was never supposed to have been nation-building,” Biden said. He also acknowledged that the escalation of the event was far faster than anticipated, and strongly criticized the position he assumed as it was left by the Trump administration.
Written by Marianna Pecora