For those who have already left and those who are left behind, war leaves indelible scars. There are countriesand organizations that have continued this war for about 18 years, primarily the U.S. and Afghanistan's rebels, the Taliban. After constant battles and numerous bloodbaths, the U.S. and Taliban finally signed a peace agreement on February 29th, ending more than 18 years of armed conflict. The United States has vowed to take a step closer to peace, promising to withdraw both U.S. and its allies from Afghanistan within 14 months. However, the Afghan government have expressed concern over the peace agreement. Let's take a look at the present, past and future of the 18-year war. Also, think about what the peace treaty means and what they are concerned about.
The Present - What Is the Key Point of Peace Treaty Between U.S. and Taliban?
On February 29th, 2020, representatives of the U.S. and Afghan militant groups Taliban met in Doha, Qatar, and signed a peace agreement. The U.S. has continued the Afghan war for nearly two decades since the 9/11 attacksin 2001. However, President Trump has been pushing for a peace agreement since 2018 as he pledged to withdraw the troops from the region, citing huge war costs. The long negotiations that have been pushing and pulling each other for the past 18 years have finally come to reality. This agreement is made up of three parts in total. Part 1 is what the U.S. should do, part 2 is what the Taliban should do. Part 3 calls for the United States to send a peace agreement to the U.N. Security Council to guarantee its effectiveness and implementation, and provide economic assistance to the next Afghan government to be established under internal negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
When we look more thoroughly through the agreement, the Taliban promised not to let extreme militant groups attack the United States and its allies in Afghanistan. In return, the U.S. promised to withdraw all U.S. and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) international allies within 14 months. The U.S. military said it plans to reduce the number of Afghantroops from the current 12,000 to 8,600 within the next 135 days, and U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo called the agreement a "test to achieve lasting peace." In particular, he said, "The agreement between the U.S. and the Taliban has created conditions for Afghanistan to achieve peace. We have to cut ties with al-Qaeda and keep our promise to continue the fight against the Islamic State (IS)." He added a warning that if the Taliban fail to abide by the agreement theU.S. will do everything necessary for security. The peace agreement between the two countries seemed to mean peace, showing the end of a long war.
Where did this war begin? - A Never-ending Fight
On September 11th, 2001, there was the biggest terrorist attack in U.S. history. Terrorists hijacked four U.S. passenger planes and flew them into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon building outside Washington, D.C. About 3,000 innocent people were killed in the attack. The sight of a crowded plane crashing into the tallest twin towers in New York and blowing up was a shock and horror not only to Americans but also to people all over the world. U.S. intelligence discovered the horrific attack was planned by Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda, an international terrorist organization in Afghanistan, and asked the Afghan government to extradite bin Laden. However, the Taliban regime in Afghanistan refused to do so. On September 18th, a week after the 9/11 attacks, then U.S. President George W. Bush signed a resolution authorizing the use of force, which was quickly passed by Congress, and declared war on Afghanistan. This declaration marked the beginning of a long and long war that lasted 18 years. It became the longest-running war in American history. The end of this war is only the wound left in both countries.
The Scars Left by the Afghan War: The Afghanistan Side
If someonelooks for words to describe Afghanistan over the past 40 years, they will no doubt use'destruction' and 'despair' without hesitation. No one knows how many Afghans were killed and injured during this period. During the 1980s, the former Soviet army fought a war here, and in the first half of the 1990s, after the Soviet Union stepped down, local warlords fought a fierce civil war to win the capital Kabul. The final winners of the civil war were young Muslim students who banded together with guns under the name 'Taliban'. The 9/11attacks in 2001 brought the whirlwind of war to Afghanistan again. In retaliation for the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, destroying Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda base and destroying the Taliban regime that had protected him. However, the Taliban constantly attacked the U.S. and Afghan governments, primarily though guerrilla warfare tactics. At the height of the U.S. and British air strikes, Osama bin Laden, who led the 9/11 attacks, fled to Pakistan. However, other major al-Qaeda leaders continued their resistance after fleeing to the mountainous region. The war, which seemed likely to end easily, turned into a bloody clash between tribes, leaving the whole of Afghanistan in greater chaos than before. According to UN Afghan Assistance Force, the war, which began in 2001, has been confirmed to have killed or wounded more than 10,000 civilians since 2009, when civilian casualties were recorded. (It is estimated that there are actually more than four times as many victims.) The war, after all, has lasted for about 18 years so far, meaninglessly and in no one's advantages.
The Scars Left by the Afghan War: The U.S. Side
The United States is often referred to as a "war state." It is the country that has fought the most wars in the world in the 20thCentury, and the 21stCentury is shaping up the same. The war in Afghanistan, the longest-running war in U.S. history, has led to an increasing number of U.S. war criminals and sent the cost of war far beyond the cost of the Vietnam War, becoming astronomical. According to data from the Watson Research Institute at Brown University in the U.S., the U.S. has spent about $6.4 trillion in the past two decades on the "war on terror" with the Taliban. The total defense spending in Afghanistan alone (2001.10-2019.9) is $778 billion, according to the Pentagon. Based on the data that has been accumulating since the start of the war in 2001, a total of $22 billion has been spent. Such a large sum of money was spent on the war, but there was no particular benefit to the United States. Since the war that began in 2001, the U.S. military has lost 2,300 people and killed 26,600 during its operations, according to the BBC. What started out in memory of the victims of the 9/11 attacks has rather resulted in countless other victims.
The Future - The Eleventh Hour Tug-of-war, Peace Treaty of ‘U.S. and Taliban’
When the news was broadcast that the U.S. and the Taliban had signed a peace agreement, the Afghan people came out on the streets dancing and rejoicing. However, there was certainly skepticism about the peace agreement. The U.S. has thoroughly ignored the Afghan government in its latest negotiations. Some people argue that it is a "half-way agreement" that did not call on the Afghan government, one of the major countries in the Afghan war, during peace negotiations. The Taliban have refused to negotiate, calling the Afghan government a puppet of the United States. This raises the question of "Will the peace negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government take place?" On the other hand, the Afghan government is protesting the U.S. designation of the Taliban as an "Afghan Islamic Emirate" in the peace agreement. This can also be confirmed by President Asiraf, the current leader of Afghanistan, who protested saying that he would refuse to release Taliban prisoners in the peace agreement. Therefore, the peace plan has been criticized as a 'half-way agreement.' There is something else that many worry about. It seems that peace is difficult to come because of security in Afghanistan, which is becoming more chaotic after the withdrawal of U.S. troops. The biggest reason is that the Afghan government's power is not strong enough to deal with the Taliban. Some speculate that Afghanistan could "become a second Vietnam" over this situation. Fourteen months after the withdrawal of all U.S. troops, they believe the same situation could happen in Afghanistan.Just as North Vietnam overthrew the South Vietnam regime two years after it conducted a peace agreement with President Nixon.
In conclusion, the U.S. and Afghanistan (Taliban) have signed a peace treaty, but it is still uncertain whether the Taliban will follow through with their side. Two days after the signing of the peace treaty, the Taliban showed friction with the Afghan government and resumed attacks on government. It is also uncertain whether the Afghan government, which was excluded from the list of signatories, will follow the agreement. In the place of a peace statement, U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo left a strong warning that the agreement would be nullified "without concrete action to fulfill the commitments."If the U.S. had imposed diplomatic pressure on the Taliban regime after the 9/11attacks and punished its leader Osama bin Laden by international law, many civilian victims could have been spared. The land of Afghanistan has been ravaged by repeated wars and bombings. We hope that peace will continue in the future so that the blood of innocent victims will not flow.
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