The chaotic U.S. troop withdrawal out of Afghanistan might not be the end of America’s involvement in the war-torn country.
Following a two-decade war that cost trillions of dollars and thousands of American lives, the Biden administration is now considering providing assistance to the Taliban-controlled nation.
“It’s going to be up to them”
National security adviser Jake Sullivan floated the idea in a recent ABC News interview.
The Taliban once again asserted control over Afghanistan as American troops left the country last month. In response, the U.S. and Western allies have put pressure on the militant group to cooperate with demands such as permitting Americans to leave the country and upholding the rights of women and girls.
For his part, Sullivan noted that the White House is willing to provide aid to the group if it holds up its end of the bargain.
“It’s going to be up to them,” he said. “And we will wait and see, by their actions, how we end up responding.”
Despite the president’s promise in a speech on Tuesday that America is finished with “forever wars,” it seems that the current administration is not prepared for a clean break.
“Obsessed with leverage”
Instead, the White House could send more taxpayer money to Afghanistan’s current rulers as a non-military incentive after spending two decades seeking to change the nation through force.
Although the Biden administration claims it maintains sufficient leverage to impose America’s will on the Taliban, militants are reportedly in possession of American military weapons and equipment while demonstrating some of the same extremist views that it held prior to the U.S. invasion.
International Crisis Group consultant Graeme Smith is among those who now say it is time for America to accept defeat.
“Western diplomats are obsessed with leverage,” he asserted. “I think that’s the wrong way to think about it. We lost the war. Full stop. So whatever we seek to achieve now in Afghanistan will be from a place of humility, and from a place of give and take. This will be about bargaining and not about coercion.”
If the U.S. does send funds to Afghanistan, it is likely that they will be embezzled by the Taliban, which took over after the fall of a notoriously corrupt Afghan government. Furthermore, foreign aid will do little if anything to prevent a stream of unvetted refugees from settling in the United States.