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Afghan people in a march.

A Summary of Afghanistan

The United States pulling its troops from Afghanistan after more than 19 years is a major news story globally. There have been mixed responses, some celebrating the troops coming home, while some protesting, saying that they need to stay. 


A collective emotion however, is a sense of foreboding.


The war on Afghanistan was triggered largely by the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. President George W. Bush declared war on Al Qaeda and subsequently the Taliban after the attacks. The declaration was approved just a week after 9/11.


American troops quickly took over, pushing both Al-Qaeda and the Taliban out of Afghanistan. 


And on May 2, 2011, Osama bin Laden, the leader of Al-Qaeda, was killed by US forces. The search for Bin Laden took about 10 years, and during that search, America was getting busy. 


The US spent more than $2 trillion on the war, building schools, letting children get an education. We gave women freedom, allowing them to go to college, to get jobs, and even join the government. Made clean water easier to get, food more plentiful.


The US built up Afghanistan through a capitalistic lense, trying to “modernize” the war torn country.  


And in the process, 2,401 American troops died throughout the war, 20,752 being wounded. 


Former President Barack Obama claimed he would get American forces out of Afghanistan by 2014 after Osama bin Laden was killed. In a written statement then, he said, “this reflects the enduring commitment of the United States to the Afghan people and to a united, secure, and sovereign Afghanistan.”


However, it wasn’t until President Trump, in February 2020, was able to negotiate a deal with the Taliban to finally pull the troops out of the country. 


The bill was mostly composed of four points. The basics are as follows: Afghan soil cannot be used by countries not allied with the United States, there will be a complete withdrawal of American forces from the country, the Taliban is required to make pacts with the Afghan government and keep out any terrorist forces, and that a complete and permanent ceasefire is to be enforced. 


According to the official treaty signed, the original plan was for all of the troops currently in Afghanistan to leave by May 28th, 2020, but Biden was able to negotiate it up to a complete withdrawal by September 11, 2021. 

Desperation was high as the final pins fell into place for America to leave the country. 


America withdrew during a major conflict between the Taliban and the government, which promptly fell into Taliban rule. It fell to the mercy of the terrorist organization as the Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, fled the country. 


Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, and where U.S evacuations we’re taking place, was overrun by the Taliban. 


And just like that, around two decades of US involvement was over.


Despite the fact that the US left materials like helicopters and weapons for the Afghan army, they still fell surprisingly quick. The US left equipment for them yes, but didn’t teach the army how to use it. 


All of these things led into the chaos that was the Kabul airport during the evacuation. 


Shocking videos of desperate Afghans clinging onto planes falling to their deaths, desperate to leave the country. A two year old toddler was trampled to death by the crowds of people, planes being filled to the brim and then over the limit. It was messy and chaotic, but the US has finally withdrawn from Afghanistan. 


Thousands of Afghan citizens and children were killed, soldiers were killed, bombs were dropped, but finally the US attempted to tie it all up. 


America is out of Afghanistan, leaving a war torn country in its wake.