September 11, 2021, will mark 20 years after the famous 9/11 bombing and 20 years of the Afghanistan war. On Wednesday, US president Joe Biden announced that it would also be the last day for American troops on Afghanistan soil. After 20 long years fighting terrorism and trying to uphold democracy, the US troops are finally coming home for good.
In the wake of the bombing attack on the world trade center in 2001, the United States set up camps in Afghanistan to fight terrorism. Now, almost 20 years after the bombing and ten years after the capture and death of Osama bin Laden, the purpose of the US troops in Afghanistan is unclear.
Although the US troops will likely come home this year, the plan to withdraw them from Afghanistan has been in the works for quite some time. In fact, returning soldiers from war zones was one of Trump’s campaign promises, one that he tried to keep before he left office.
To this effect, the Trump administration signed a deal on February 29, 2020, to recall the soldiers in Afghanistan by May of 2021. For this to happen, the Taliban militants have to agree to open intra-afghan deliberations geared toward Afghan peace.
In addition to this, they also have to break off all ties with Al Qaeda. In the months following this agreement, the number of troops present on Afghanistan soil has been reduced from 5000 to 2500. However, they haven’t been withdrawn fully. The reason for this could be that the Taliban are not ready to follow through with the deal. Other oppositions came from within the United States.
So, what has changed? According to President Biden,” after consulting closely with our allies, military leaders, intelligence personnel, diplomats, development experts, congress, vice president, [Afghan President Ashraf Ghani] and many others worldwide, it is time to end America’s longest war. It is time for American troops to come home.”
While addressing the people on Wednesday, the President said that with Osama bin Laden dead, they had achieved the goal of setting up bases in Afghanistan. Also, the terrorist groups in Afghanistan have broken into small chunks spreading across the globe in places like Somalia, Arabian Peninsula, Syria, and Iraq. Centering forces in Afghanistan would be a waste of money.
” With the terror threat now in many places, keeping thousands of troops grounded and concentrated in just one country and across the billions [of dollars spent] each year makes little sense to me and to our leaders. We cannot continue the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan — hoping to create ideal conditions for the withdrawal and expecting a different result.” says Biden.