OPINION: U.S. should have never occupied Afghanistan

U.S. soldiers overlook an area of Afghanistan. 

It took 20 years to finally leave Afghanistan. After around 2,400 American deaths, a devastating 71,000 civilian deaths along with $2.2 trillion spent by the U.S, the United States Government thought it was a good idea to pull out of Afghanistan. 

For what? 

The Afghan war presents many questions to the American people, such as who was the U.S. even fighting against? The Taliban? Weren’t Al-Qaeda (the masterminds of 9/11) also there? Isn’t there an ISIS presence there as well? Was the puppet government the U.S. established truly a functioning democratic government?

To answer all these questions, the U.S. was fighting against everyone in Afghanistan. Although the U.S. established a so-called “democratically elected government” for the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, it was plagued by some of the worst bribery corruption in all levels of public office, from small schools to the head of the Afghan government. 

Many Afghans did not like the American presence there, especially when that presence was mainly “boots on the ground.” Think about it yourself. If you had a religiously and nationally foreign military force come and occupy your country, how would you feel? 

Afghanistan is a Muslim-majority country. Imagine the opposite happening. Imagine an Islamic country such as Afghanistan occupying a Christian-majority country such as the United States? Obviously, the occupation would be met with a ton of resistance, even if the occupying force came out of goodwill. 

Hence, it’s no surprise that Afghanistan was a loss for the United States. Even though the U.S. tried to bring a successful Western-styled democracy to Afghanistan, an occupier is an occupier, and will be met with a ton of resistance, such as the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and even ISIS.

Therefore, not only was the U.S. fighting against terrorists such as Al-Qaeda, both Talibans and ISIS, but the U.S. was also fighting (more like killing) normal Afghan civilians. The death toll of Afghan civilians from 2015 till March 2020 at the hands of the United States drone strikes alone is between 300-900. This is not including a whole family of 10 with seven children, mistaken to be ISIS-K (known as Islamic State-Khorasan) terrorists , killed in the U.S. airstrike on Aug. 29, according to the Pentagon itself. 

Historically, this reminds me of the U.S. failed occupation of Vietnam. Both Afghanistan and Vietnam were at risk of being controlled by communist regimes backed by the Soviet Union, and the U.S. tried to meddle in their domestic affairs for the sake of “democracy.” 

Both occupations were a failure. The northern communist Vietnam conquered the U.S.-backed South Vietnam, and the Taliban conquered Afghanistan and kicked out the U.S.-backed government. 

Knowing that the U.S  invaded a number of countries after 9/11 such as Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. defeat in Afghanistan raises questions as to how the U.S. government could have responded differently to the tragic events on September 11, 2001. 

Was it a good idea to invade Afghanistan, a country from which none of the 9/11 hijackers originated, and gave the U.S. a humiliating defeat?

The short answer is an unequivocal NO.

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