After nearly 20 years, the US is about to finally leave Afghanistan and the result is not pretty.
The photographs are horrific–thousands of people clinging to the sides of military transports, trying to escape the country. American sympathizers executed. Women being forced back into hiding behind heavy cloaked garb. And that’s only week 1.
It appears that the US military knew the government they installed and protected would not be able to withstand the force of the Taliban. It’s just that no one figured the whole structure would crumble in a matter of hours and days, rather than months.
It’s estimated that over the course of the conflict, over 6000 Americans and 164,000 Afghans lost their lives. The total monetary cost is estimated at between $2 and $6 trillion dollars.
And what do we have to show for it? Thousands of desperate people trying to flee an oppressive, misogynist regime. Some of these were employed as translators for the American military–they are now targeted as enemies of the state.
President Biden is bearing the brunt of the criticism for what’s happening in Kabul and surroundings today. But he is the 4th American president to preside over this conflict: What had any of the others done to prevent this debacle?
We could speculate as to what we might have done differently over the last two decades (besides not ever invading to begin with). Now, we have to act to do the right thing today, given the current situation. We need to expedite asylum for those who were connected to the Americans. We need to support refugees fleeing the country in droves. And we have to learn what not to do so this doesn’t happen again.
It’s been 46 years since the fall of Saigon, but it doesn’t look like we’ve learned a darn thing. If we don’t take time to truly understand what’s going on in Kabul now, we’ll be seeing another situation like this one in the near future. It’ll be deja vu all over again.
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