Peace remains out of reach after US pulls back troops

China Military Online
Chen Zhuo
2021-05-08 17:35:30

By Li Shurui

On May 4, local time, the United States Central Command announced that 2%-6% of American troops had been pulled out from Afghanistan. Previously, US President Joe Biden said it’s “time to end America’s longest war”, and the country began to withdraw the remaining 2,500 troops from Afghanistan on May 1, to be completed on September 11 at the latest, in memory of the 20th anniversary of Al Qaeda’s terrorist attack on the US.

Withdrawing troops is easy, but realizing peace in Afghanistan is not. While Washington is eager to end the 20-year-long war, what that leaves the Afghanis is a colossal security black hole that is almost impossible to patch.

The security situation in Afghanistan has worsened since the White House announced its withdrawal plan on April 14. Taliban armed forces have ramped up attacks in 24 provinces, leaving 226 civilians and military personnel dead. Not only are the ordinary Afghanis worried about the aggravating security, but the National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib also said gloomily that the Taliban would escalate violent activities going forward, and every Afghani will be a target.

Clearly, the withdrawal of American troops will not only create the space for terrorist organizations to expand their sphere and influence but will also break the balance among various factions in Afghanistan and throw the country into more cruel civil conflicts. Washington is trying to bring the Afghan government and Taliban to the negotiating table, but the Taliban doesn’t show much interest, and the peace talks are in a stalemate. Meanwhile, international forces are also on their toes to fill the vacuum left by American troops, making the national security situation more vulnerable.

After the “9•11” terrorist attack in 2001, the US sent troops to Afghanistan in the name of counter-terrorism. Still, it is generally believed in the international community that their anti-terror operations there in the past two decades are of little avail, except causing a massive humanitarian disaster. US war in Afghanistan has cost 241,000 lives in 20 years, including over 71,000 civilians. A United Nations report shows that more than 3,000 Afghan civilians died, and nearly 5,800 were injured in 2020 alone; casualties caused by the lack of medical treatment, malnutrition, and environmental pollution far outnumber those directly caused by the war.

Besides, the protracted war has seriously disrupted people’s normal lives, stagnated urban construction, and ruined industrial and agricultural development. Today’s Afghanistan suffers from dire deficiency, with 72% of the population living under the poverty line, the unemployment rate as high as 38%, and about 11 million Afghanis becoming refugees and 3.5 million children driven out of school. Instead of uprooting terrorism, the 20-year-long anti-terror war fought by America has brought the Afghanis more insecurity and instability, stagnation and even retrogression of national development, and indescribable miseries for the people.

“Every Afghani looks forward to peace. We can develop the country. People in Afghanistan yearn for peace.” The Afghan people are expressing their concerns about the security situation. Now, before it uproots the terrorist organizations and restores peace in Afghanistan, the country that started all this mess just packs up and pulls out without showing the slightest sense of responsibility, leaving behind the humanitarian disaster it has caused to continue or exacerbate. Who is to blame for Afghanistan’s lost 20 years? America’s irresponsible actions in Afghanistan have, of course, let the Afghanis down and will leave a stain on its history book.

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