On February 29 of this year, just weeks after Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were inaugurated, the United States and the Taliban signed a “peace agreement.” The agreement, unanimously endorsed by the United Nations Security Council, includes a plan to remove all U.S. and NATO troops from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021. In exchange, the Taliban promised to prevent Al Qaeda from conducting operations under their control, and to engage in talks with the Afghan government.
One the one hand, all Americans – especially past and present members of the military, and their families – look forward to a true and lasting peace. But there are many concerns and questions that are not yet resolved.
The most important concern is whether or not the Taliban can be trusted to keep its word. What if the Taliban takes advantage of the withdrawal and overthrows the Afghan government? What if Afghanistan again becomes a base of operations for terrorist attacks on the United States? In such circumstances, would the Biden-Harris administration take appropriate action.
Another worrisome question pertains to the seemingly arbitrary deadline date chosen for the withdrawal. September 11, 2021 is the 20th anniversary of the Islamic terrorist attacks on the United States. The previous administration had actually planned an earlier date – May 1, 2021. That could conceivably have brought about peace more quickly. But at the same time, the Trump administration’s plan for withdrawal would have been somewhat conditional – and based on facts on the ground. And we know that, if necessary due to Taliban treachery, the previous administration would have taken strong and appropriate action.
According to a senior Biden administration official interviewed by the Washington Post, the decision to withdraw by September 11, 2021 “is not conditions-based.”
In making this decision, Biden consulted with Barack Obama, but did not consult with Donald Trump. This is rather sobering, since we certainly don’t want to return to the failed policies of Barack Obama.
According to military analyst Atiqullah Amarkhel, a retired Afghan Army general, the Taliban is “stronger than in the past, and if the Americans leave and don’t support and assist the Afghan Army they won’t resist long, and the Taliban will take over. This is what scares me the most.”
We’ve said it before: Every veteran, and everyone serving in the military, knows about war. But nobody hates war and seeks peace more than America’s warriors. Will the Biden-Harris policy truly lead to peace and benefit U.S. national security? That remains to be seen.
Image Credit: Photo by Andre Klimke on Unsplash