Afghanistan cries for help as the Taliban takes over

Martha Raddatz

The 20-year long war has finally ended; the United States has recently completely pulled out of the Asian country, Afghanistan. Everything was going well, progress was being made, women were being allowed to work, democracy was being established, and girls were going to school. But now, the longest war in American history has concluded in disaster. What was looking like a modern nation is being sent back to the dark ages. So, what caused everything to go so wrong so quickly?

It’s a mixture of reasons: the lack of training, the weak will to fight against the Taliban, and poor funding of the Afghan soldiers caused mass desertions among soldiers in the Afghan military. Government corruption also has a part to play, with members of the Afghan National Army from just soldiers to high-ranking officials selling off military equipment for themselves. The equipment that was sold to the black market was bought by the Taliban. The U.S. government also has a part to play in this; they went into peace talks with the Taliban, without the country of Afghanistan present to represent themselves. The U.S. also changed the original plan under the Biden administration from just soldiers to all American officials, leaving the Afghan government to deal with logistics the U.S. usually handles.

The current situation can be traced back to the Soviet-Afghan war between 1979-1989, the war between the Soviet-backed government Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (the DRA), and several Shi’ite and Maoist groups. The mujahideen was funded by several countries such as the United States, Britain, China, and Saudi Arabia. They fought and resisted the Soviets until the eventual pull out of the Soviets out of Afghanistan, and soon afterwards, they collapsed in December of 1991. In the early 90’s, the Saudi Arabian government funded a Sunni mulsim group named the Taliban; at first they were only created to restore peace and establish sharia law in northern Afghanistan. In the near future, the Taliban overthrew the government that resisted the Soviet’s invasion. The Afghan people were mostly supportive of the coup d’etat because of how corrupt the government was. Soon, they will see how brutal the Taliban was.

On September 11th, 2001, the American people were put in shock as four airliners were hijacked and crashed into three locations: the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a rural field in Pennsylvania that was speculated to originally hit another place in the nation’s capital. Soon, it was discovered that Al-Qaeda and their leader Osama Bin Laden were hiding in Afghanistan. The Taliban government wouldn’t allow the United states to search for the Taliban. On October 7th, 2001, the United states declared war on Afghanistan due to the government allowing the terrorist organizations inside their borders with near unanimous support within the Senate. The War on Terror had begun.

On December 5, 2001, Afghanistan U.S. forces controlled the majority of Afghanistan, causing the removal of the Taliban from power, and four days later, they collapsed. The U.S. started reconstruction in Afghanistan and established a democracy, but the war continued to rage on as the U.S. continued to fight Al-Qaeda in Iraq and Pakistan. In September 2010, the CIA discovered the world’s most wanted man’s location. On May 2, 2011, Osama Bin Laden was found and killed in a compound in Pakistan. The navy seals Rob O’Neill and his comrades finally killed the man behind it all. The Obama administration soon reduced the number of troops in Afghanistan.

For the next eight years, Afghanistan was quiet with the outburst of occasional violence. In 2020, the Trump administration went into peace talks with the Taliban, which fell off, and under the Biden administration, started the complete pull out on the 29th of February 2021. During the pull, on May 1st, the Taliban quickly reclaimed most of Afghanistan. They executed influencers and public figures and have access to nearly 83 billion dollars worth of equipment left by the U.S. Most have been disassembled but aren’t impossible to put back together.

BBC News. (2021, August 18). Who are the Taliban?
George, S. (2020, December 8). Behind the Taliban’s ties to al-Qaeda: A shared ideology and decades of battlefield support. Washington Post.
Laub, Z. (2017, May 1). The U.S. War in Afghanistan. Council on Foreign Relations.