Pros and Cons of Our Involvement in Afghanistan

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It is a well-known fact that the War in Afghanistan, which started in 2001, is the longest running war of the United States. For more than a decade now, we have been trying to fight back the Taliban regime. The losses of human and financial resources are enormous; therefore, today, many people doubt whether the United States should be involved in the war further or not.

The primary reason for the war to be continued is that far too much effort has already been spent and too much blood shed. According to Tristam (n. p.), 1,300 foreign troops (850 of them were Americans) have already been lost in Afghanistan. Retreating now would mean it was all in vain.

These days, the Taliban continues to exist with its people living in Pakistan. Retreat could be wrongly interpreted by America’s enemies. Islamists and Al-Qaeda, in particular, may understand the act as their victory in the war. Nevertheless, the Taliban regime would regain its position, and the chances of its coming back to power would be higher. This may pose a serious threat to the U. S., since the movement might renew their acts of terror. In addition, Afghanistan would return to a civil war, and the conditions would be the same as at the end of the twentieth century - the society would lose its liberty and would suffer from low life standards, discrimination, and terror.

It is also worth mentioning that, during the years of the war, military technologies have been developing, just like everything else. This means that, with the help of drones, modernized communication technologies and equipment, it will be easier to defeat the enemy. The prospect is encouraging. On the contrary, if the country refuses to continue being involved in the war, then, as Tristam argues, “American prestige would suffer a blow similar that the one it suffered after retreating from South Asia in the mid-1970s and from Lebanon in 1984” (n.p.).

No matter how convincing these arguments may sound, there are still many of those who support the idea that the U. S. should retreat its troops from Afghanistan. The first downside of the war is that, with more military forces on the territory of the country, Afghans get more indisposed against foreigners. Really, it is hard for natives to support foreign soldiers, because no matter what their intentions are, people are killed anyways. As Dillon suggests, “The presence of American and allied troops combating a religion-based insurgency (of course, also a narco-insurgency) in a Muslim country is a standing provocation to many Muslims worldwide”; consequently, the war does not seem to have any good intentions for Muslims. These events might instigate the appearance of anti-American unions.

Another sound argument is that many Afghans see Taliban as its major enemy, so retreat would mean letting these two opposing forces fight against one another. The U. S. could provide air force help when needed, as it did in 2001. There is also another argument, a purely pragmatic one. The whole world, including the U.S., is undergoing a serious economic crisis, outcomes of which are yet to be seen. Probably, it would be better for the country not to invest into troops and equipment support, at least for the time being.

Finally, the hypothesis that al-Qaeda would come back to Afghanistan after America withdraws is not very plausible because it could easily choose another poor country, like Sudan or Yemen, to operate in. Moreover, it does not have many supporters there; that is why it has not moved to these countries yet, so it may not move to Afghanistan either.

Of course, there are supporters of each side of the argument, and whatever Pentagon’s long-term strategy in Afghanistan will be, let us hope the war’s outcome will be a victory for justice and peace of the civilians.

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