War in Afghanistan set to end after 20 years

President Biden is set to announce the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, ending a war started back in 2001 (https://www.npr.org/2021/04/14/986955659/biden-to-announce-he-will-end-americas-longest-war-in-afghanistan). All remaining forces should be out by this September, a date that will also mark the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. President Biden said, "We went to Afghanistan because of a horrific attack that happened 20 years ago. That cannot explain why we should remain there in 2021.”

At peak levels during the Obama administration there were over 100,000 troops stationed in Afghanistan. Since then numbers have steadily dropped thanks to both President Obama and President Trump. Most recently former President Trump ordered the withdrawal of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia back in December. As it currently stands around 2,500 soldiers are stationed in Afghanistan, with about 1,000 additional special operations forces. The U.S. will maintain diplomatic and humanitarian efforts in support of the country, even leaving some behind to protect American’s diplomatic presence.

Critics from both the left and right have spoken out against the President’s decision. Some are concerned that this move will cause a power vacuum, allowing terrorists to retake the region. Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY) recently said, "Any withdrawal of forces that is not based on conditions on the ground puts American security at risk. He's further, apparently, going to announce that the date for the withdrawal will be Sept. 11. Now I'm not sure why the White House has selected that date, but I can tell you that that is a huge victory, huge propaganda victory, for the Taliban, for al-Qaida."

Is this a smart decision by the president? Should the U.S. work to pull out from continued foreign entanglement, or has the length of this war been necessary to protect American bordes and prevent future terrorist attacks?

Image Credit: Alex Brandon/Pool/Getty Images

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