The United States went to Afghanistan 20 years ago for one reason: to defeat the forces that attacked this country on September 11. We succeeded in doing that. That mission resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden over a decade ago and the degradation of al Qaeda.
When President Biden took office, he inherited a deal Donald Trump negotiated with the Taliban leader—which left the Taliban in the strongest position militarily since 2001 and imposed a May 1, 2021 deadline on U.S. Forces.
Biden faced a choice—follow through on the deal, with a brief, negotiated extension into the summer to get our forces and our allies’ forces out safely, or ramp up our presence and send more American troops to fight once again in another country’s civil conflict.
One more year, or more, of U.S. military presence would not have made a difference if the Afghan government is too weak or corrupt and its military cannot or will not hold its own country with the billions of military equipment and training that the U.S. has provided.
This is painful for many; there will be innocent victims. But the United States cannot rescue the entire world. Wars always end badly. WWII featured unconditional defeat for our enemies but we abandoned the people of Eastern Europe to Soviet rule. Vietnam ended badly – we rescued some but not all.
Let’s wait and see how well this plays out before jumping all over a President who inherited 20 years of mistakes by administrations of both parties.