President Joe Biden has announced that he officially plans to pull U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by Sept. 11, marking the end of America’s longest military effort.
The U.S. first invaded Afghanistan back in 2001 as a response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attack provoked by Al-Qaeda. War was never officially declared because neither the Al-Qaeda nor the Taliban (the group that ruled Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001) were recognized states.
Although support for U.S. intervention in Asia rose after the Sept. 11, it quickly dropped back down. According to a poll by The Washington Times, by 2004, around 67 percent of Americans believed that the U.S. went to war based on incorrect assumptions (though the poll does not differentiate between the military efforts in Afghanistan and in Iran, which was equally unpopular.)
“I think we have no business in there anymore.” Kendall Gomez (freshman, Spanish/international studies) said. “At the time it might have made sense to them, but it’s been 19 years, and now we know a lot more.”
Gomez isn’t alone in this feeling. She is part of an entire generation that grew up not knowing an America at peace.
“If you think about it, most of the freshman were born either at the end of 2001 or in 2002.” Madison Reddick (freshman/nursing) said. “We were born as the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, most of us even after the invasion. So, we have a different point-of-view, I guess.
“Maybe they understand better what led to the war, but we understand better how America is impacted by it,” she added.
While it is true that most “Zoomers” (a colloquial term to describe people who are a part of Generation Z) are against the war in Afghanistan, this is not to say people from older generations necessarily support it either.
Notoriously, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who had originally voted in favor of the military intervention in Afghanistan, has been a critic of it since 2008.
In 2011, when former President Barack Obama first proposed removing U.S. troops from Afghanistan, Sanders claimed that he believed America has “paid a high price both in terms of casualties and national treasure.”
More surprisingly, former President Donald Trump, who notoriously has been criticizing Biden since the highly disputed presidential race of 2020, has publicly praised Biden’s decision – not without criticizing the president’s timeline for doing so, however.
"I wish Joe Biden wouldn't use Sept. 11 as the date to withdraw our troops from Afghanistan, for two reasons,” Trump said. “First, we can and should get out earlier. Nineteen years is enough, in fact, far too much and way too long. Sept. 11 represents a very sad event and period for our country and should remain a day of reflection and remembrance honoring those great souls we lost."
Before handing the presidency to Biden Jan. 21, Trump signed a deal with the Taliban. In the agreement, the U.S. agreed to remove troops from the country and quit invading Taliban-controlled territories if the Taliban agreed to cease international terrorism against the U.S. and its allies. This was seen mostly positively, with Sanders calling this deal “the only good thing Trump has done.”
While the fact that both Biden and Trump can agree on a topic may suggest that opinions are unanimous, this is not the case. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other republicans in the Senate have been active criticizers of the idea of pulling troops out of Afghanistan – even when the idea came from Trump.
“This administration has decided to abandon U.S. efforts in Afghanistan which have helped keep radical Islamic terrorism in check,” McConnell said.
McConnell and the Senate republicans may find themselves with little-to-no support, though.
Afghanistan’s president Ashraf Ghani told CNNC [they] agreed the nation no longer needed America’s help with dealing with the Taliban, though he recognizes this will “radically change”