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After the last C-17 planes took off this Monday, 30, taking the few diplomats still stationed in Kabul and US troops in an early retreat, Afghanistan dawns for the first time in twenty years without an American presence.
Between 100 and 200 Americans were left behind, in addition to at least 100,000 Afghans who collaborated with the United States. The balance for the Afghans is, at least for the time being, the Taliban’s domination and a humanitarian crisis that, according to the United Nations, should provoke a new wave of refugees in the world.
“The impacts on American domestic policy are still unclear, but the poorly organized and hasty withdrawal can leave an image of a country that is no longer the police of the world”, says the expert in international relations and Afghan public policy Sher Jan Ahmadzai, director of the Center for Afghan Studies at the University of Nebraska, USA. Ahmadzai was special secretary to Hamid Karzai, president of Afghanistan between 2001 and 2014.
The American evacuation took place in a desolate scenario, with Afghanistan taken by the Taliban and the threat of new attacks. Last Thursday, 26, attacks in the Kabul airport region claimed the lives of more than 180 people, including 13 US soldiers. This weekend, US forces launched missiles in a residential neighborhood in Kabul where those responsible for the attack, claimed by the Islamic State, were in hiding. About ten civilians were killed, including children.
“The withdrawal means the end of the nearly twenty-year war that began right after 9/11,” the general said. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., leader of the US military command in Afghanistan, this Monday. The end point of the American occupation of Afghanistan began to be sewn by former President Donald Trump and was carried forward by Joe Biden, when it was announced earlier this year.
Along with the last American troops, Afghan military commanders who participated in the operation of evacuation and security at the airport in Kabul embarked. As a result, Afghanistan was orphaned by the elite of its troops who served the government deposed by the Taliban on the 15th.
The US withdrawal came amid escalating tensions. On Monday, the anti-missile system of American forces in Kabul fired rockets back into the capital’s airport, where American troops were concentrated. And the alert remains for new attacks that could happen this week.
According to local media reports, the Taliban began a harassment of activists and people who provided services to foreigners. In addition, educational centers have started to separate girl boys into different classrooms, as advocated by sharia, Islamic law, and women are being dismissed from their jobs.
So far, few countries have even considered recognizing the Taliban as the legitimate ruler of Afghanistan. Only China and Russia have come out more formally in this regard, nodding to the Taliban. In the vacuum left by the United States, which announced its withdrawal from the country earlier this year, Chinese foreign affairs minister Wan Yi and Taliban foreign affairs leader Abdul Ghani Baradar met in China in July to discuss the new chapter in the history of Afghanistan.
The Chinese government plans to develop infrastructure projects in Afghanistan so that the country can connect to the New Silk Road, an initiative to build ports, roads and railways that should link China to the rest of Asia, Europe and Africa. Afghanistan’s ore reserves are also at stake. Valued at between $1 and $3 trillion, much remains unexplored, including a mega deposit of copper and rare metals.
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