“It’s time to end the permanent war.”
On the afternoon of April 14, local time, Biden officially announced that he would begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan by May 1 this year and all U.S. troops by September 11.
Twenty years ago, then-U.S. President George W. Bush announced the start of the war in Afghanistan in the same room in the White House. In the years that followed, the United States fell into the “Empire Cemetery” and began the longest war in its history.
More than 2,300 U.S. troops have been killed and more than 100,000 Afghan civilians killed or wounded in nearly two decades of conflict, according to Forbes. The U.S. has spent more than $2 trillion (about 13 trillion yuan) on the war. More than 775,000 U.S. troops have been sent to Afghanistan at least once, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. There are still about 2,500 U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan, and that number may gradually decline in five months until it goes to zero.
“The decision to leave Afghanistan is clear.” On the day of the official announcement of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, Biden traveled to the 60th arlington National Cemetery in Virginia to pay tribute to U.S. soldiers killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Internal peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government have been going on for months, but progress has been slow. The announcement of the withdrawal of U.S. troops has not only added uncertainty to the situation in Afghanistan, but has also stirred debate among U.S. defense officials and members of Congress.
Senior military officials have generally supported maintaining a small military presence
When Biden officially announced the decision to withdraw fully from Afghanistan on the 14th, U.S. Defense Secretary Austin is still in Europe to visit NATO. Austin expressed “full support” for Biden’s decision and called the process “inclusive.” Previously, Austin led the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq in 2011. According to the Associated Press 15 news, Blinking will visit Afghanistan on the 15th local time, with the Afghan government to discuss the withdrawal of troops.
However, while discussing a full withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan earlier this year, some senior U.S. military leaders argued for a small military presence in the country. Nine current and former U.S. government officials familiar with the discussions said they believed a 1,000-strong force was needed to counterbalance the Taliban and prevent Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for terrorists again, according to politics news site Politico.
The officials also said that senior U.S. military officials in Afghanistan, including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,Mark Milly, the top U.S. military official, and some senior officials from Central Command and Special Operations Command, supported the proposal to keep a small portion of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
However, from the Biden administration’s statement on the 14th, the military’s proposal does not seem to have been fully adopted. Austin defended the decision to withdraw fully, saying that Biden “listened to other people’s thoughts and understood their concerns” and that “everyone should support the decision once it is made.”
On the other hand, there are also reports that the decision to withdraw afghanistan across the board did not come from the U.S. Department of Defense. Politico cited sources as saying that current Secretary of State John Blinken and National Security Adviser Sullivan played a key role in pushing the decision, and that “the Department of Defense didn’t make that decision.” Another source argued that Biden had long worked with Mr. Blinken and Mr. Sullivan and that Mr. Austin was, to some extent, an “outsider” and therefore had limited influence over decision-making.
Responding to discussions and questions about the U.S. decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne again stressed the “inclusiveness” of the decision-making process. Mr Horn said Mr Biden and Mr Sullivan attached great importance to an “inclusive, rigorous and thorough policy review” of US options in Afghanistan and would seek advice from experts in the military, diplomatic and other fields at every step of the way.
In addition, Biden said in a speech on the 14th, the decision to withdraw fully from Afghanistan has the support of former President Barack Obama and George W. Bush. In addition to U.S. troops, NATO has about 7,000 troops in Afghanistan. In an interview with the media, German Defense Minister Annette Cramp-Calumbauer hinted that NATO troops might be withdrawn along with U.S. troops, “let’s go together.” I am in favour of an orderly withdrawal. ”
Military officials and lawmakers from both parties are at loggerheads
While the Biden administration’s repeated reaffirmations of a full withdrawal from Afghanistan have heard voices and gained support from many forces, some military officials and members of Congress from both parties have struggled to hide their concerns about the future situation in Afghanistan after the decision was officially announced.
Petraeus, a former CIA director and former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, said the Taliban had shown no willingness to participate in internal peace talks and that the Taliban were likely to retake the country after the U.S. withdrawal, which would fuel the resurgence of terrorist groups such as al Qaeda and the Islamic State.
Within congressional Democrats, disgruntled voices can still be heard, even though a majority of lawmakers support the Biden administration’s decision to withdraw its troops al-Severance. On the one hand, Senator Sanders praised Biden for making the “brave and correct decision” and Senator Warren said that remaining in Afghanistan “will not make america or the world safer” and would instead fall into a “vicious circle.” Senator Jenny Shaheen, on the other hand, tweeted that she was “very disappointed” by Biden’s decision.
“Although this decision was made in coordination with our allies, the United States has sacrificed too much to ensure stability in Afghanistan, and this full withdrawal will not guarantee security in the region in the future.” Shahin wrote. It is reported that Shahin has supported the Bush administration to send troops to Afghanistan and Iraq.
At the same time, some Republican members of Congress have been more critical of Biden’s decision. Senator Lindsey Graham admitted in an interview with Fox News on the 13th that the Biden administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan would “pave the way for the next 9/11”, while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the decision was a serious mistake that could lead to disaster.
Still, Republican lawmakers support Biden’s decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. Senator Ted Cruz said he was glad the U.S. military could “go home” and Senator Cynthia Ramis said she was pleased with the decision, even though she hoped the U.S. military would complete its withdrawal by May 1.
It’s worth noting that Biden has repeatedly questioned the effectiveness of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Under Obama, Vice President Joe Biden advocated keeping small U.S. troops in Afghanistan to fight terrorism, but the proposal failed to materialized, Politico reported.
At the same time, Mr. Obama wrote in his memoirs, Mr. Biden saw Afghanistan as a “dangerous quagmire.” In a 2010 private meeting with Richard Holbrooke, a former U.S. envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Biden angrily said, “It doesn’t help that my son risked his life to go to the battlefield to protect the rights of local women, and that’s not what they (the U.S. military) is there for.” Biden’s late son Beau is understood to have been a member of the Delaware National Guard and was sent to Iraq in 2008.
“In the last 40 years of American history, I’ve been the only president with children serving in a war zone, and I know what it’s like.” Biden said in a speech on the 14th.