Are US Forces Leaving Afghanistan?

The Story:

President Joseph Biden has made a public commitment to withdraw all US forces from Afghanistan (aside from a minimal force that will remain to protect the US embassy). To this, many observers have replied, in effect, “we’ll believe it when we see it.” US policy in Afghanistan has had many vicissitudes over the last twenty years.


Biden has announced that the troops will be out by September 11, 2021: that is, by the twentieth anniversary of the attack on the United States that served as the justification for sending them there.

On 9/11/01, commercial airplanes hijacked by Islam-inspired terrorists flew into each of the “Twin Towers” in southern Manhattan, and into the Pentagon in northern Virginia. Another plane, also hijacked for use as a weapon, crashed in a field a few miles east of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The Bush administration soon announced that the suicidal hijackers were part of a group, “Al Qaeda,” operating with the protection of the Taliban government in Afghanistan. By October 7 the US (with British assistance) had initiated military action against targets in that country.

The Thing to Know:

The US installed a friendly government in the capital city of Kabul. The continued involvement of US and NATO troops in the country has always been justified as a way to strengthen the Kabul government so that it can hold off a resurgent Taliban on its own. No one is very confident that the present Kabul government can do that. That is precisely why some are suspicious the withdrawal will not come off on schedule.

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