The Taliban took over the presidential palace in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, on Sunday. It was after President Ashraf Ghani sought asylum in Uzbekistan. The Afghan government announced its surrender to the Taliban on Saturday as the rebel group put pressure just 11 kilometers away from Kabul after occupying several major cities of the country. This came three months after the U.S. forces began their final withdrawal and only 10 days after the Taliban started to seize major cities.
The Afghan government, which was armed with the latest equipment provided by the U.S. government, was powerless to the rebel troops, whose fighting power is far worse than Viet Minh during the Vietnam War according to U.S. President Joe Biden. While over 300,000 servicemen are registered on paper, the actual number was less than one-sixth of it as many had been falsely enlisted to receive salaries. The active servicemen who lack a sense of duty and were demoralized by the U.S. troops’ withdrawal were helpless.
Unlike the Vietnam War from which the U.S. suddenly pulled out in the middle of the war, the country has been forewarning its withdrawal from Afghanistan since 2011. The U.S.’s May announcement of complete withdrawal meant that about 10,000 U.S. soldiers who had remained in Afghanistan to train the Afghan military and police since 2014 when the control of Afghan security was transferred to the Afghan country will be completely pulled out. Despite a long time given to them, Afghan leaders, including the president, experienced repeated division and failed to eradicate corruption to rebuild the country.
In 2001, then-president George W. Bush pursued military intervention in Afghanistan to put Al-Qaeda led by Osama bin Laden under control since the September 11 attacks. That was when the Taliban regime collapsed. At the time, the Taliban regime was subject to international criticism as it provided hiding places to terrorist groups and engaged in actions against humanity by oppressing and punishing women according to extreme Islamic fundamentalism. The Taliban took over power again in 20 years. The international community is expressing concerns about the country’s regression to an oppressive regime.
The U.S. expected the collapse of the Afghan government after its withdrawal. However, how soon it happened came as a surprise. The U.S. troops were pulled out expecting a collapse as there were no more national interests for the country to stay in Afghanistan. The situation in Afghanistan reveals that the U.S. does not have the power nor will to station its own troops unlimitedly for the freedom of other country or human rights. It should be clearly understood that there are limits to how much the international community can help a country that does not try to its own people and their freedom.