Goodbye ----- Uncle Sam
This marks the beginning of the end of the longest ever war of the United States of America fought overseas in Afghanistan for almost 20 years. It set off in 2001 as "Operation Enduring Freedom” simultaneously echoed globally as ‘war on terrorism', with an initial aerial strike later on with multidimensional approaches against Taliban claiming they were harbouring Osama Bin Laden and other senior members of al-Qaeda connected to the 9/11 attacks.
In 2020, there were 4,000 US troops, which shrunken to about 2,500 in January 2021 when President Joe Biden took office and he comments a few days back that American troops would leave Afghanistan by late August this year, accordingly General Scott Miller, the four-star General who was serving as the final commander of NATO's Resolute Support Mission and United States Forces - Afghanistan since September 2, 2018 left Afghanistan by relinquishing his charge on July 12, 2021 to Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, who is head of U.S. Central Command. McKenzie will operate from Central Command headquarters based in Tampa, Florida.
The withdrawal is 90 percent complete and the last American troops have left Bagram Air Base on the same day which has been the focal point of the U.S. war effort for the last 20 years, on the same day when Gen. Miller left Afghanistan. In addition, the U.S. military is also pulling out the remaining security and logistical forces and American contractors from the country.
It has been surfaced that as the U.S. made exit from Bagram, United States left without notifying the base's new Afghan commander and Electricity and lights were suddenly shut off and destroyed nearly 16,000 pieces of equipment as the Americans departed. It was later clarified that U.S. military leaders did not appraise the Afghan government of the precise timing of their evacuation on safety and security grounds.
The U.S. currently has roughly 600 troops in Afghanistan, mostly are Marine Corps and Army personnel which provide security for the peaceful evaluation of both military and other nationals and the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. All of those troops are expected to remain after the pullout is officially complete.
For complete withdrawal, the time limit given by Biden is significant as, September 11, 2021, is the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 ‘terror attacks’ in Washington, DC, New York and Pennsylvania that steered the US to bull Afghanistan without delay. Mr Biden's decision is said to be final and not based on conditions contrarily even the situations in Afghanistan worsen till September 2021.
During this war period from 2001 to 2020, over 47,245 civilians, 70,000 Afghan military and police and more than 50,000 Taliban fighters have been killed. Overall the war has slaughtered 171,000 to 174,000 human beings in Afghanistan but The Costs of War Project estimates that 241,000 people have died as a direct outcome of this war. However, the death toll may be greater due to unaccounted losses by its horrible impacts like loss of access to edibles, diseases, water, infrastructure, and other indirect impacts.
More than 70,000 Pakistanis have been killed including forces and innocent civilians and losses to the Pakistani economy have exceeded $150 billion, while unjustifiably the US provided only $20 billion in aid.
In addition to these losses, Pakistan has been facing terrorism, refugees crisis, illegal weapons, drugs, weapons and human trafficking and infiltration of terrorists inside Pakistan especially in Balochistan, Punjab and Sindh including high expanses for the borders’ security, especially for the Afghan border. All have been compromising the socio-economic-political system of Pakistan during the last two crucial decades of the US-Afghan war as an important geopolitical ally of the US. Regrettably, the US used Pakistan and its resources like toilet paper and in return, Pakistan gets just symbolic support.
Despite the peace negotiation between the Afghan government and Taliban, there are intense fighting is going on with reportedly heavy losses for the last many weeks. The Taliban have gained control of several strategic districts, particularly along the borders with Iran, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. They claim that they have taken control of more than 85% of Afghanistan. Taliban officials have reassured that their territory would never be used against their neighbours. Lately, the Afghan government has imposed a curfew in thirty districts.
The US has wasted the huge budget amounting to $ 2.66 trillion with this split (Billion) like Defence Department Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) (War) Budget $ 933 billion, Defence Department Base Budget War-Related Increases $ 433 billion, Veterans Care for Afghan War Vets $296 billion, State Department OCO (War) Budget $ 59 billion, Estimated Interest on War Borrowing $ 430 billion, and these figures are excluding future interest payments and future cost to be incurred on veteran care.
This huge budget stretching to $2.66 Trillion is more than the budget of about 180 countries of the world including 54 African countries. Regrettably, this huge finance could have helped in eliminating hunger and poverty in the underprivileged part of the world. In addition, it could have been used to build infrastructure like roads, bridges, hospitals schools, dams, emergency resources and others in deprived regions thus improving both the quality and quantity of miserable lives of the unfortunate humans living in the slums. Furthermore, the hate and anger and rage, depression, paving the way to crimes and terrorism, could have been reduced by these wasted resources. This war has dragged the US not only into financial debt but to never payable liabilities for lifelong permanent disabilities, fears, tears and sufferings of humanity.
Unfortunately, the longest war ended without any positive outcome rather it has ruined the present and future of the region and generations. Furthermore, this combat has not affected badly Afghanistan but also leaving contusions on all the six bordering countries and the region, especially Pakistan.
Not strangely there are multiple challenges to be faced by Afghanistan including the socio-economic-political stabilization, rehabilitation and reconstruction of the ‘lacerated’ country for the last many decades. This longest war is a sweet lesson for all major powers and all-time champions of justice, equity, fair play and humanity. Goodbye, Uncle Sam, Goodbye!