Analyzing the Botched Exit From Afghanistan

What will be its lasting impact on the United States?


Taliban soldiers patrol the streets of Kabul once again as a result of the botched US withdrawal.

Alex Arabadzhiev, Staff Writer

On July 8,  President Joe Biden said “There’s going to be no circumstance for you to see people being lifted off the roof of an embassy of the United States from Afghanistan.¨ He announced a “timeline” for a drawdown in US forces in Afghanistan, with a promise to get all of the US troops out in time before September 11.

Fast forward one month later and the outcome of this decision already proved to be a disaster. The Taliban captured province after province, city after city and on August 15, the capital of Kabul.

For the next two weeks, America would have to rely on the same people who chant “Death to America” and burn the American flag.

The US set an August 31st deadline for the removal of all US citizens and Afghan allies. On August 18th, Biden said,  “if there’s American citizens left, we’re gonna stay to get them all out.”

Over the next two weeks, an unprecedented airlift effort run by US soldiers and diplomats on the ground saw over 6,000 American citizens rescued out of Afghanistan. 

Despite the efforts of all US personnel, when the last U.S. plane took off from the Kabul Airport on August 30, it left behind around 200 U.S. citizens trying to escape, including children. Many of those who were abandoned could not make it to the airport because the Taliban blocked their access to the airport.

In my opinion, the buck stops with President Biden. The president disregarded his top military advisers’ recommendations on how to reduce force levels while keeping the Taliban at bay. He also misled the public by claiming that al Qaeda was no longer present in Afghanistan and declaring the evacuation a resounding success.This certainly was not the opinion of his top military officials who testified before Congress.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff declared the US “lost” the war in Afghanistan, and “the enemy is in control of Kabul.”

the enemy is in control in Kabul.”

— General Mark Milley


There are some questions frankly that haven’t been answered. First, why did the US abandon Bagram Air Base in the cover of night without informing Afghan troops who were struggling to counter the Taliban ground offensive? If the US had kept Bagram Air Base, there would’ve been better security on the ground and a stronger evacuation effort of Americans and the Afghan allies that we originally promised to get out of the country. 

As a result of abandoning Bagram Air Base, a trickle down effect occurred. The United States Embassy, which previously was a symbol of hope for a more westernized Afghanistan, was evacuated and key diplomats involved were forced to move operations to Kabul Airport. The United States of America was forced to rely on the Taliban, (who the US fought against for 20 years), to police the perimeter of the airport. The result was a sucide attack outside the airport where, tragically, 13 US service men and women lost their lives.

Another result of President Biden’s evacuation was how it failed thousands of Afghans who helped U.S. forces in our fight against terrorism. Officials from the State Department revealed that the majority of special immigrant visa applicants were not able to leave the country. As a result, those who applied for visas are now facing punishment from the Taliban, including targeted assassinations. Failure to remove Afghans might make future recruitment of local partners more difficult in the future, putting the US in a difficult position.

Scores of US weapons and machinery are also in the hands of the Taliban. Planes, guns, combat vehicles and night vision goggles were among all of the valuable military equipment left by the US military. The $83 billion price tag for all of these weapons may end up benefiting the enemy the US was fighting all along. 

Counterterrorism efforts may also be hampered. Many top military officials warned President Biden that withdrawing from Afghanistan would limit the United States ability to track terrorist threats in the country. Afghanistan was the place where terrorist plans such as 9/11 were developed. Now, Afghanistan may go back to being the terror safe haven it once was.    

Afghanistan as a country will also return to its pre 9/11 stone age policies it had under the Taliban. Girls’ enrollment in school increased from practically zero in 2001 to nearly half a million in 2018, accounting for nearly half of all primary students in the country. All of these gains in education will now mean nothing. The Taliban have named an all male cabinet and implemented a law requiring female students to be segregated from the male students while in the classroom.

The Taliban are now also restricting journalism and diminishing the freedom of press.  Journalists are prohibited from publishing content or articles that are “contrary to Islam”, “insulting national figures”, or “violating privacy”, according to new Taliban laws. Since the Taliban seized Afghanistan six weeks ago, journalists and media workers have endured arrest, and physical abuse. It is only a matter of time until the Taliban censors the media completely.

Brutal punishments and executions will return under the Taliban. Under the previous Taliban regime, people would gather in packed stadiums to watch executions take place. Unfortunately, as time goes on, we will continue to hear more and more heart wrenching stories of the Taliban’s inhumane punishments of Afghans. 

I believe the decision to leave Afghanistan was always destined to be a disaster. And to be frank, this was an American disgrace and a national embarrassment. 

Biden had hoped that the pullout would be completed by September 11th, allowing for a celebration of the war’s end. Instead, by choosing surrender and guaranteeing defeat at the hands of terrorists, he created a more dangerous landscape for America and it’s future.