Thursday, September 23, 2021

Taliban advances in Afghanistan as US withdraws


Although it looks like America’s longest war, started by President George W Bush after the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington 20 years ago, may be coming to a close, the final withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan has led to the military takeover of key cities in the nation, such as the capital of Kabul, by Taliban forces, a situation the US had hoped to avoid, The New York Times reports.

map of Afghanistan

After special forces killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden during the administration of President Barack Obama, President Donald Trump tried to negotiate a peace with the Taliban. His efforts, however, were unsuccessful, leading him to begin working toward pulling American military forces out of Afghanistan altogether, where they had been training Afghan troops in order to avoid just the kind of Taliban takeover we are now seeing.

“As [President Joseph Biden] indicated, this unfolded more quickly than we anticipated, including in the intelligence community,” the Times quoted Avril D Haines, the director of national intelligence, as saying in a statement.

“This has been an unmitigated disaster, a stain on the reputation of our country,” Kentucky Sen Mitch McConnell said Wednesday, referring to the situation in Afghanistan. “Obviously, there was no plan in place to deal with getting our own people out and getting the Afghan interpreters who worked with us.”

A few student newspapers throughout the US have been following the situation in Afghanistan, including The Tribe at Santaluces High School in Lantana, Florida.

Regarding the situation in Afghanistan, “The answer isn’t as simple as one may think,” writes Azzurra Degliuomini. “The truth is, there are many factors that led to the downfall of the Afghan government and the rise of the Taliban government.”

After a brief history of events in the Middle Eastern nation, she quotes Mr Biden as saying: “I’ve learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw US troops.”

She expresses distrust of the Taliban’s pledge to respect women’s rights under the “limits of Islam,” given their ultra-conservative history and tendency toward patriarchy.

Embed from Getty Images

She’s not the only one reluctant to believe Taliban leaders. Malala Yousafzai, who survived a Taliban assassination attempt and is the youngest-ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, writes in the Times:

In the last two decades, millions of Afghan women and girls received an education. Now the future they were promised is dangerously close to slipping away. The Taliban — who until losing power 20 years ago barred nearly all girls and women from attending school and doled out harsh punishment to those who defied them — are back in control. Like many women, I fear for my Afghan sisters….

We will have time to debate what went wrong in the war in Afghanistan, but in this critical moment we must listen to the voices of Afghan women and girls. They are asking for protection, for education, for the freedom and the future they were promised. We cannot continue to fail them. We have no time to spare.

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.


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