by Prisha Satish ’24
Published Oct. 16th, 2021
On Aug. 30th 2021, the U.S military departed from Afghanistan, ending America’s twenty-year occupation in the country. This departure left Afghanistan in Taliban’s hands. The last evacuation flight left at least 100,000 Americans in the country who are now hiding from the Taliban to maintain their survival.
In mid-April, President Biden declared that the United States would withdraw from Afghanistan by Aug. 31.
Biden made his reasons for withdrawing clear from the start. He believed the U.S military could not transform Afghanistan into a modern, stable democracy. Responding to one of the critics of the withdrawal the president questioned, “Let me ask those who wanted us to stay: How many more? How many thousands more of America’s daughters and sons are you willing to risk?”
The U.S planned to leave behind around 650 troops for security purposes. But the unexpected and sudden Taliban victory forced the embassy into a panicked shutdown. Staffers were forced to shred and burn sensitive documents before moving to a makeshift embassy.
Taliban gunmen now control the streets of Kabul and other cities, and fear has made its way throughout Afghanistan.
In Kabul, Taliban gunmen have gone to each house in some neighborhoods, searching for anyone who had supported the government or the American effort. And despite numerous public promises, Taliban leaders have forced strict restrictions on women and repressed some independent journalists.
Despite assurances from the White House, U.S citizens and Afghan allies were left behind, although the State Department couldn’t provide exact numbers.
President Biden said in a speech on Aug . 16 that he stood by his choice to end American military involvement in Afghanistan then adding, “This did unfold more quickly then we had anticipated.”