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US retreating from Afghanistan after 20 years of failure

Ramin Mazaheri
Press TV, Chicago


The US military just announced it has begun a total withdrawal, and there’s unanimous agreement that America’s longest war was a complete failure. 

Aiming to eradicate terrorism, the war only caused terrorism to proliferate: Groups like ISIL and Al-Qaeda infested huge swaths of territory from Mali to Iraq. Begun in 2001, not even a month after the 9/11 attacks, on the pretext of eradicating the Taliban the United States leaves without even enough leverage to get the Taliban to the negotiating table. 

While new US President Joe Biden said the retreat would be finished by September 11, the Taliban threatened major reprisals if the US stays past the May 1st deadline negotiated by Donald Trump. 

American commentators usually refer to the domestic impact of the war with the cynical phrase “blood and treasure” - but the invasion of Afghanistan led to the freedom-stripping Patriot Act, institutionalised Islamophobia and the prolonged war hysteria of the George W. Bush era; Barack Obama contributed illegal drone attacks, a “surge” of even more troops, and keeping Guantanamo Bay open - even after winning a Nobel Peace Prize; the repeatedly shocking Donald Trump came to power in large part due to his promise to avoid starting more domestically-devastating foreign wars like in Afghanistan. 

Over 2,000 Americans died in combat, but nearly one million US soldiers served in Afghanistan. Not only are they bringing home physical and psychological trauma, but perhaps often a highly-militarised view of global politics and the Muslim world. 

The “war on terror” may be concluding, but its legacy is immense destruction at home and across the Muslim World. The United States will now shift many of their troops to counter an alleged threat from China and Russia. 

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