• April 19, 2024

It’s a Mistake to Leave Afghanistan

President Biden’s decision to withdraw all forces from Afghanistan against solid military advice will return to haunt the nation and the world as it did in 2011 in Iraq.

Only months away is the 20th anniversary of September 11th, when nearly 3,000 Americans were killed by al-Qaeda terrorists trained and directed by Osama bin Laden from Afghanistan. Surely we should have learned that it is not wise to allow radical Islamists to plan attacks against America and its allies. Had we destroyed the port of Afghanistan after attacks on two US embassies in Africa (1998) and the USS Cole (2000), September 11th would probably not have occurred. The military and intelligence agencies understand this, which is why they both recommend keeping a remaining anti-terrorist force in Afghanistan.

In the months and years to come, the Afghan government in Kabul will slowly but surely lose influence across the country. The Iranians will begin to dominate western Afghanistan and the Taliban will begin to rule the southern region of the country. The old Northern Alliance will be reorganized. Eastern Afghanistan will be under the control of the Haqqani Network, a criminal company that is designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The elements of ISIS and Al Qaeda scattered around Afghanistan will take advantage of the chaos.

Without a military presence from the American or North Atlantic Treaty Organization, each group will be separate. Imagine outsourcing our national security to the Taliban. Expecting the Taliban to monitor Al-Qaeda and ISIS is like asking the fox to guard the chicken coop. It’s only a matter of time before another civil war. All of this can be avoided by deploying a small US-NATO anti-terrorist force to aid the Afghan military and continue to press the parties to find political solutions to the intricate mosaic of problems in Afghanistan.

President Biden cannot say he was not warned. The military and intelligence communities have often sounded the alarm about the risks involved in unconditional withdrawal and the chaos that is likely to result. The decision to leave a small contingent of American forces in Afghanistan was non-partisan. The 2,500 to 5,000 troops under discussion represent a 95% reduction in troop strength from the peak of American involvement in 2011.

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