Rushed withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan leaves many in peril

After the fall of Afghanistan’s capital city of Kabul to the Taliban, the Biden administration hastily pulls all military personnel from the country. The troop withdrawal left the war-torn nation and countless Afghan citizens subject to the religious extremist group.

Rushed withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan leaves many in peril

Airlifting over 100,000 people out of Afghanistan following the United States departure, President Joe Biden calls the operation an “extraordinary success” while leaving many more vulnerable citizens in the hands of the Taliban.

The U.S. military began its evacuation efforts for Afghan citizens, who were potentially in danger for aiding their cause, late July of this year. 

The evacuation was poorly planned and hurried with mass evacuations starting once Taliban forces began closing in on the capital city of Kabul, on August 14.
“We completed one of the biggest airlifts in history, with more than 120,000 people evacuated to safety,” President Joe Biden said in a speech following the withdrawal. “That number is more than double what most experts thought were possible.  No nation — no nation has ever done anything like it in all of history.”

While 120,000 is a historically large number of citizens evacuated, the International Rescue Committee says over 300,000 Afghanistan citizens have assisted the American war effort over the last 20 years.

The Biden administration’s clear failure to deliver what the susceptible people of Afghanistan need, while also boasting how he has been handling the situation, is comparable to the fumbled handling of Katrina during the George W. Bush presidency, but with many more lives at risk.

The initiative to withdraw troops from Afghanistan began in February 2020 when former President Donald Trump signed an agreement with the Taliban to remove all U.S. troops by May 1, 2021. 

In exchange for the United States military leaving the country, the Taliban would not be able to harm Americans, they could not carry out devastating civilian attacks and they were prohibited from allowing terrorist groups to form or continue within their borders.

The Biden administration was not able to carry out the evacuation by May 1, so it was delayed until September 11 of the same year.

However, a stipulation in the agreement Trump signed with the Taliban stated that the United States military had to be fully withdrawn from the country by August 31, or else the Taliban would resume fighting.

A State Department official came out Monday, September 27 to announce that 100 citizens and green card holders are still stuck in Afghanistan.

“So with respect to the number of AMCITs [American citizens] and LPRs [Green card holders] that are ready to go, it’s – I would say, in the vicinity of 100,” The State Department said.

The fact that 100 Americans are still stuck in the Taliban controlled country, as well as significantly over 100,000 Afghans who are in imminent danger, clearly illustrates the poorly planned evacuation.

The visa program for Afghans who need to flee for protection is a limited and slow process. 

Applicants must go through a rigorous and prolonged review process, crossing a 14 step long obstacle course of bureaucracy along the way.. 

The average wait time for a final decision on these applications is 3 years, which won’t help any citizens now. 

Of the 60,602 applicants this year, only 2,189 have been chosen by the United States Department of State. While only accepting a meager 3.6% of visa applicants the United States has refused to interview any of this year’s visa “winners”, stranding them with the government they have been waging war against.