How the Afghanistan withdrawal could have been handled differently

Tyler Donaldson

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On February 29, 2020 The United States began to pull its forces out of Afghanistan.  This marked the end of a nearly 20 year war, as US Forces were first deployed there on October 7, 2001.  Although many Americans agreed with the decision to pull out of Afghanistan, many also believe it could have been handled differently.

There are many theories as to how this withdrawal could have been handled differently.  One such idea is making sure all American citizens and our allies were out of Afghanistan before pulling out our troops. This would have assured that all civilians got out safely.

Another thing that has been widely criticized was leaving Bagram Air Base for Kabul’s Air Base. Bagram Air Base had three runways compared to Kabul’s one, which would have meant the whole process could have gone three times faster. Not to mention, we also had no control over the Kabul Airport and complete control over Bagram Air Base.

Also, since we left Bagram Air Base we made a deal with the Taliban to secure the Kabul Airport. This was an interesting decision considering the whole reason we were in Afghanistan in the first place was because of them. They were not only trusted in securing the airport but also letting our green card holders and visas through their security checkpoints.  This was because we felt that we could not secure it ourselves.

Others say we left too much military equipment behind. In fact, we left over 3,000 Humvee trucks and 7,000 machine guns alone!  Currently, since the Taliban has complete control of Afghanistan all of that equipment is now there’s something went wrong.  While questioning Antony Blinken, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) said “We’ve got plenty of bombs. We can bomb them from anywhere in the world, maybe we should have bombed the helicopters and planes we left behind.  Even though you say you didn’t know any of this once they took our stuff we should have said you have 20 minutes to get out of it because we’re going to blow it all up.  Then you would have sent a message of strength.”

In conclusion, the Afghanistan withdrawal could have been handled another way with many different results.  With hindsight 20/20 we will never know what could have happened had we done things a different way.