President Biden has recently announced that all U.S. troops would leave Afghanistan by August 31, 2021, before the previously proposed deadline of September 11, 2021. Biden and the Democrats pretend that this withdrawal is motivated by their concern for the Afghan people, but that has never been the concern of the U.S. government.
In his announcement Biden said, “It’s the right and the responsibility of the Afghan people alone to decide their future and how they want to run their country.” What hypocrisy to make this claim after nearly twenty years of U.S. war and occupation, which has brought nothing but death, destruction, and turmoil to the people of Afghanistan. Rather than granting the Afghan people the “right and responsibility … to decide their future,” every administration, both Democrat and Republican, has supported the genocidal war on Afghanistan. And even after U.S. troops leave, the U.S. will continue to attack Afghanistan.
Biden isn’t the least bit concerned about the self-determination of the Afghan people — nor of any people for that matter. In 2001, as Senator of Delaware, Biden voted in favor of the Congressional bill to authorize the Bush administration to begin the invasion of Afghanistan. In October 2001, Biden explained the U.S. invasion as follows:
Our immediate goal is to cut off the head of Al Qaida … the removal of [Osama] bin Laden and the Taliban leadership …. Our hope is that we’ll … work with others and try to help rebuild a politically and socially stable Afghanistan.
In fact, over the course of the almost two decades of U.S. war and occupation, Afghanistan has become less stable, and the Taliban has grown more influential, increasing its attacks on the population. Many U.S. military analysts predict that the Taliban will escalate its fight for power over the country, sparking a civil war as soon as the U.S. leaves Afghanistan.
In its nearly two decade occupation, the U.S. government has spent over $2.26 trillion to terrorize the Afghan population, killing more than 100,000 civilians, and hundreds of thousands more have died due to hunger, disease and injury caused by the disastrous war. The United Nations didn’t even begin counting civilian deaths until 2009, eight years after the invasion began, and so the true death toll is likely much higher. In addition, at least 2.7 million Afghans have been forced to flee due to the destructive war, becoming refugees in neighboring Pakistan, Iran and other countries. An additional four million people have become internally displaced according to the U.N. As of last year, Afghanistan ranks 169th (out of 189 countries) on the U.N.’s 2020 Human Development Index, primarily due to immense poverty and destroyed healthcare and education systems.
Besides the trillions of tax dollars wasted on this war, an estimated 3,586 U.S. and NATO soldiers have been killed, and at least six times as many have been wounded. Nearly 4,000 U.S. contractors have been killed, as well as hundreds of humanitarian workers and journalists.
Despite Biden’s promise that all U.S. troops will be out of Afghanistan by August 31, he said nothing about the 16,000 private military contractors employed in Afghanistan. In addition, the U.S. will continue its assault on the Afghan population through drone strikes and long-range bombers, which have been the cause of many civilian deaths since 2013. According to the U.S. Air Force, from 2013 to 2019, the U.S. fired over 70,000 missiles and dropped nearly 27,000 bombs from these aircrafts.
Even if the 3,500 U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan will leave by the end of August, the nearly twenty-year long war on Afghanistan will continue. In fact, many of these troops will likely not even return home, but instead be relocated as the U.S. has been increasing its military posture towards China, as the Biden administration has made clear.
In other words, some U.S. troops may be leaving Afghanistan, but U.S military aggression around the world remains.