US President Joe Biden finally announced the withdrawal of the final 2,500 American troops from Afghanistan. The date for final withdrawal is symbolic- 11th September. Meanwhile, Biden supporters are showering praise on the President for ending the ‘forever war’. However, while it is true that Biden made the big announcement, he didn’t really have a choice.
During his tenure, former US President Donald Trump concluded a peace deal for withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan. Trump pulled thousands of troops out of Afghanistan in line with the peace deal. When Biden came to power, 2,500 American troops were still in Afghanistan. Left to himself, Biden would have never pulled out the troops from Afghanistan. But Trump had really tied his successor’s hands on this issue.
Biden represents the infamous war lobby active in Washington DC. He forms a part of those elitists who kept the Afghanistan war and other conflicts alive, in order to keep the military-industrial complex running. However, when Biden came to power, he faced a unique challenge on the Afghanistan front.
There are many reasons why Biden could not halt the withdrawal of American troops even though he really wanted to do so. The biggest reason was, of course, the risk of increasing American casualties in Afghanistan. It is true that the Taliban has continued with its offensive operations, and if American troops were to stay in the war-torn country, then there could have been a spike in the US death toll also.
Had more US troops died in Afghanistan, Trump could as well have held Biden responsible for those casualties. The former US President could have easily claimed that it was only because of Biden’s insistence to keep troops stationed that more Americans had to die in Afghanistan.
Taking the blame for sacrificing troops in Afghanistan is too undesirable a choice for any US President.
And even apart from the risk of more casualties, Biden observed the kind of euphoria that Trump’s troops’ withdrawal created within the US. Trump might have lost the 2020 Presidential elections, but US citizens did appreciate how the former US President kept his promise of bringing the troops home.
Let’s face it, American military families, veterans and even civilians fail to understand as to why the US had to lose 2,488 soldiers and spend $2 trillion in the course of the Afghanistan war. Therefore, when Trump decided to chalk out a plan for the withdrawal of the troops, his decision was highly appreciated.
Now, it would have been a really unpopular decision back home, if Biden were to halt the withdrawal and keep troops stationed in the war-torn country. Any decision to redeploy troops in Afghanistan would have been even more unpopular. Americans were simply fed up with the ‘forever war’ and as such Trump showed that there was no need for the US to remain engaged in it.
Even in terms of cost, the Afghanistan war was simply not worth it. The US has already spent $2 trillion in search of a pro-US regime in the nation. But we don’t really see it happening. Within the US, Trump was able to make people understand how their taxes were being used to run a senseless war with no reasonable end.
Biden could have tried but he would not have been able to find a legitimate excuse for continuing the Afghanistan war. So, the US President announced the withdrawal of the remaining 2,500 troops from Afghanistan but it is really Donald Trump who forced the sitting US President to take the big decision.
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