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U.S. Troops Depart Afghanistan: The End of America’s Longest War

By Ingrid Moreno

Photo Credit to Stars and Stripes

On Aug. 30, the last U.S. troops departed Kabul, Afghanistan after a Kabul airport attack that took the lives of 11 Marines, one Navy corpsman, and one soldier, according to the U.S. Defense Department. The complete withdrawal ended two decades of the United States war in Afghanistan.

The war first began after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. On Sept. 18 of that year, President George W. Bush signed the joint resolution to authorize the use of U.S. armed forces against those responsible for the terrorist attack, which included the invasion of Afghanistan.

Although Osama bin Laden was killed in May 2011 and a drawdown of the U.S. Force was requested, around 70,000 U.S. troops were ordered to remain until 2014. During this time, President Obama stated the U.S. and the Taliban leadership were discussing peace and reconciliation.

Nine years later, in February 2020, the Taliban, a group of former Afghan resistance fighters, signed a peace agreement to ensure that Afghanistan soil would not be used by any group or individual for terrorist attacks in exchange for the departure of U.S. troops from the land. In November 2020, the U.S. announced the withdrawal of the armed forces. This withdrawal was originally set to occur on Sept. 11, 2021.

Photo Credit to NBC News

However, according to The Washington Post, the Taliban stated that they will not be part of any conferences with the United States about Afghanistan’s future until the troops were gone. The Taliban demonstrated their persistence on Aug. 26, 2021, when an explosion caused by a suicide bomber killed 13 U.S. service members as the evacuation of thousands was taking place.

An article written on Aug. 27 by the Wall Street Journal Chief Correspondent and two others described the event as “the deadliest day for the U.S. military in Afghanistan since 2011.”

After the attack, the Taliban proceeded to take over Afghanistan, forcing the president to enforce an earlier deadline, Aug. 31.

By Aug. 30, more than 120,000 people left Afghanistan to find safety. Between 100 to 200 Americans are still in Afghanistan seeking evacuation, according to Secretary Antony J. Blinken.

For senior advertising and public relations major Maria Bolivar, the danger which Americans and allies still in Afghanistan are facing is scary.

“All those Americans and Afghans allies that had hoped that [the] U.S. military was going to help them are helpless and defenseless,” said Bolivar.

Senior social work major Ashley Sanchez agrees. Although she believes it was time for the war to finally end, she thinks the remaining Americans and allies deserve immediate assistance.

Photo Credit to Business Insider

“They should not be left behind after all the risk they went through to help in the war,” said Sanchez.

Although the mission is not entirely over, August 2021 will be remembered as the end of the United States’ longest war, lasting 20 years. While a few Americans and Afghan allies remain, Secretary Blinken assured the American people on Aug. 30 that the work in Afghanistan continues.

Referring to everyone who risked and sacrificed their lives, Blinken believes that everyone should “honor all those brave men and women.”

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