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Hindsight gives insight into the merits and wisdom of past decisions and actions. Such appears the case with Afghanistan. By ending the war in Afghanistan after only months in office, President Biden becomes the scapegoat of those who choose to ignore the following decisions made over the past 50 years that contributed to the final outcome of America's disastrous involvement in Afghanistan.

In the early 1970s, after Afghan's progressive secular government aligned itself with Russia, the United States began funneling resources and training to conservative Islamic resistance fighters opposed to social liberalizations, equal rights for women and Russia's involvement in the government, resulting in a coup and Russia's invasion into Afghanistan late 1979.

Throughout the 1980s, the United States funneled billions of dollars to Pakistan intelligence agencies, with no U.S. oversight, to train and arm Mujahedeen fighters, including militant extremist groups to fight against the Russians. Many extremist jihadist fighters from various countries went to fight against Russia, including Osama bin Laden in 1984

The United Stated pressured Egypt to release Islamist prisoners to fight in Afghanistan, which included Aymsn al-Zawahiri, a top al-Qaida leader.

The United States continued the war in Afghanistan after the Taliban made offers within days of the war, starting in 2001, to negotiate turning over Osama bin Laden (offer rejected as “non-negotiable” by the president) resulting in a 20-year war, costing almost a trillion borrowed dollars, over 170,000 Afghan lives lost, almost 2,500 American service members killed and over 20,700 injured.

The United States started a war with Iraq in 2003, which resulted in over 275,000 lives lost, including over 4,400 American service members, almost 32,000 injured and costing in excess of $2 trillion borrowed.

In February 2020 America negotiated a withdrawal agreement with the Taliban without including Afghan government officials or military leaders to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners immediately, reduce American troop levels to 2,500 by Jan. 15, 2021 and all troops out by May 1, 2021.

The above decisions were made during Republican presidencies. It was not President Biden who made a surrender agreement with the Taliban to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan, as a recent letter writer to the Prior Lake American stated, it was President Trump.

Trump's surrender agreement undercut the legitimacy of the Afghan government, negatively impacted the morale of the Afghan military and had no agreements, contingencies or timeliness for the safe and orderly evacuation of Afghan allies.

Trump's surrender agreement in 2020 provided the Taliban time for planning the logistics needed to overrun Afghanistan in several days with little resistance from a 300,000 Afghan military and the collapse of the government. Denying such exposes a blind allegiance to a political party, misinformed or uninformed of recent events.

In hindsight, disastrous decisions over the past 50 years contributed to the horrific climax in the last frantic days of August 2021, where American troops had to screen tens of thousands of terrified people for proper documentation before being allowed to flee Afghanistan.

Glen Weber

Prior Lake

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