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July 5, 2021

Afghanistan Fate Associated With American Dollars

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.

President Joe Biden said in April that America’s 2,500 combat troops would leave Afghanistan by September 11, 2021. Supporters praised the action for putting an end to America’s longest conflict and allowing Washington to refocus American national security on the most critical concerns we confront, as Democratic Senator Tim Kaine put it according to USA Wire. Meanwhile, others panned the decision, calling it reckless and hazardous. Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state, warned that it may have massive ramifications, including an increase in global terrorism and a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. Bruce Hoffman and Jacob Ware claimed in War on the Rocks that retreat would be universally viewed as defeat, making America less safe.

However, both sides of this issue tend to overestimate the significance of the US troop withdrawal. American cash, not American soldiers, are the key to winning the war in Afghanistan. The Biden administration should pair the troop withdrawal with a long-term financial aid commitment that stresses sustainability, avoids unreasonable requirements, and shares the burden with international donors.

Impact of U.S Forces

In Afghanistan, US personnel are undertaking important work, mostly training and advising Afghan forces. The evacuation of the roughly 7,000-strong NATO-led contingent in the country coincides with the departure of the Americans. However, the media’s disinterest in wars where Americans are not directly involved in the fighting reflects a certain strategic narcissism — the American belief that the presence or absence of Americans is the deciding factor in any conflict, combined with the media’s disinterest in wars where Americans are not directly involved in the fighting. In reality, there are clear limits to what a tiny US and ally force can do in a country with a population of roughly 40 million people and a countrywide insurgency according to USA Wire news. The current number of American soldiers is comparable to the student body of a major American high school, and it pales in comparison to the Afghan security forces’ 300,000 members or the Taliban’s estimated 60,000 core militants.

US troops

Furthermore, the withdrawal of US troops does not imply the end of the country’s actual presence in Afghanistan. Hundreds of CIA personnel are said to have been deployed in Afghanistan to fight al-Qaeda and ISIL. Beyond September 2021, a smaller contingent of US troops will stay in Afghanistan to protect diplomatic buildings such as the US embassy. Beyond the official headcount, there are even more inventive ways to increase army numbers. According to recent reports, the true US presence is 3,500 troops, not 2,500. To put it another way, the United States’ footprint in Afghanistan is already small and will continue to shrink, but it is not going to vanish completely.

Foreign Aid Importance for Afghanistan

Foreign help, not foreign troops, is the most important factor in determining Afghanistan’s fate. In recent years, the US has provided roughly $4 billion in security assistance and $500 million in civilian aid to Afghanistan. The Afghan military receives $3 billion of this, which is used to fund everything from salaries to helicopters. The US has spent roughly $140 billion on aid to Afghanistan since the war began as per republican news sources. Other countries, such as the World Bank’s Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund, also contribute, although the United States is by far the largest donor. The United States’ aid to Afghanistan may be the world’s most inefficient assistance program. There are other examples of horrific mismanagement, such as the widespread theft of US-supplied gasoline, the construction of a dining facility without a kitchen, and the construction of a $6.7 million compound for Afghan ladies police that was rarely utilized. According to one study, waste, fraud, and abuse resulted in the loss of 30% of American aid. Foreign aid can backfire by providing patronage to corrupt politicians, alienating Afghan communities, and bolstering the Taliban. Officials in the United States struggle to know whether aid works, and they frequently assess the performance of assistance program using dubious measures such as the quantity of money spent.

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