U.S Invasion and withdrawal from Middle East and Afghanistan

This article is written by Atta Ur Rehman, a student of International Relations at the National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad. He is interested in Global politics, conflict resolutions, diplomacy, and foreign affairs. 


Before applying Realism on US withdrawal from Afghanistan I will shortly introduce the 9/11 attack how Al-Qaeda hijack the Airplanes and target the World Trade Center and Pentagon and how many causalities occurred in the 9/11 attacks. Then I will briefly discuss the US war on terror after the 9/11 accident happened and which countries the US invade and fought battle against Al-Qaeda. Then I will discuss the United State of America invasion of Afghanistan and for what purpose America went there and what America achieved from Afghanistan. After that, we will briefly know about the causalities’ aftermath. How much lost America in the War on terror economically and militarily? When it is discussed then I will discuss the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and what is the reason for US withdrawal from Afghanistan and after that, I will apply realism on US withdrawal from Afghanistan. We will know about the strategic policy of the US that why the US withdraw and what is the intention of the US to change policy.

Background of the 9/11 attack: 

On 9/11, 2001 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist institution Al-Qaeda four airplanes targeted the United State of America. The two aircraft hit the World Trade Center in the USA, the other one hit the Pentagon (Department of Defense) and the four aircraft crashed in Pennsylvania.  9/11 was a massive devastating attack nearly three thousand people were killed during the 9/11 terrorist assaults, which brought on major US projects to combat terrorism and described the presidency of George W. Bush.

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The terrorists involved in the attack belong to Saudi Arabia and numerous other countries. These terrorists were financially supported by means of the Al-Qaeda terrorist corporation of Saudi fugitive Osama Bin Laden. Basically, the US gave aid to Israel, Involved in the Persian Gulf conflict, and continued US navy movement inside the middle east due to this Al-Qaeda felt threatened by this movement and they were allegedly performing in retaliation for America’s aid of Israel, its involvement within the Persian Gulf conflict,  and its continued navy presence inside the middle east. A number of terrorists had lived in the United State of America for more than 11 to 12 months and had taken flying training at American Business flight colleges.

U.S Invasion

On Sep 11, 2001, An United States Airlines loaded with jet gasoline crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center. The plane direct attacked one of the top floors of the World Trade Center. This was a devastating crash of the Airplane. The accident has also impacted the houses and shopping malls beneath the World Trade Center. There were hundreds of people who died at a time. The whole accident was going on live on television and people were taking photographs. The peoples were amazed because that was what was going on. Then after some time off the first aircraft hit, a second aircraft appeared out of the sky, grew to become sharply close to the World Trade Center, and hit the floor beneath the first one which was burning in fire. The collision was a massive and showered burning over the surrounding homes, town, shopping malls, etc and it’s clear that the United States changed into beneath attack.

Thousand of people watched this occasion unfolding in New York, and in the meantime, a 3rd American airline was flying towards Washington, D.C. This flight hit the pentagon, Department of Defense. The headquarters of the United State of America, which work on protection was collapsed and 125 military employees and civilians have been killed inside the Pentagon, alongside all passengers abroad the airliner. Department of Defense. The feard of the people was further increased because Pentagon purpose for the protection of peoples of the United State but the Pentagon was burning in the fire.

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After that United States came to know the power of the Taliban started fearing from Taliban, the horror in New York took a catastrophic turn when the World Trade Center collapsed in a massive cloud of dust and smoke. After 30 to 40 minutes the twin tower of the World Trade Center collapsed. Some news reported that only six people in the World Trade Center tower at the time of their collapse survived. Almost a thousand other people were treated for injuries, many severe.

In the meantime, a 4th California Plane was hijacked after some time of the flight when they left the Airport. When the plane was not set on time then the passengers were terrified and start shouting. The passengers started calling Washinton and New York vis mobile phones. This plane goal is not recognized. Different theories encompass the White House, The United States Capitol, the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland, or one of some nuclear energy plants alongside the eastern seaboard.

The U.S war on Terror:

The 9/11 attack was so barbaric and America was very feard because after the attack she knew the power of Terrorist(Al-Qaeda). America started a war against terrorism in different country which includes Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen. In October 2001, United State started invading different countries. In the same year, the invasion started with British and U.S forces conducting airstrike campaigns over enemy targets. Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. The US and with allies was started Airstrikes on different Taliban places and destroyed their places and members and many of them were escaped from Afghanistan to Pakistan and other different countries.

The Iraq battle started in March 2003 with an air marketing campaign, which became right now accompanied through a U.S.-led floor invasion. The Bush management mentioned USA decision 1441, which warned of “critical results” for violations which include Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction. The Bush administration also stated the Iraq conflict changed into a part of the struggle on Terror, a declare later wondered and contested. Iraq had been sponsored country for terrorism by means of the US.

Similarly, the war on terror started in Pakistan. After the 9/11 attack, former President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf sided with the US against the Afghan Taliban and supported them. President George W. Bush. Musharraf agreed to offer the U.S. the use of three airbases for Operation Enduring Freedom.

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America has also carried out a chain of military strikes on al-Qaeda militants in Yemen since the warfare on Terror started. Yemen has a powerful tribal device that leaves large lawless areas open for militant education and operations. Al-Qaeda has a strong presence inside the US. So the US also started operations there and countered Al-Qaeda.

The U.S invasion of Afghanistan: 

After the post 9/11 attack, there was a strong emotional situation in the United State of America, and everyone wanted the perpetrators of this event to be punished. Immediately America started “Operation Enduring Freedom”. Since the Taliban was supporting Al-Qaeda at a tough time. US war on terror in different countries and Afghanistan was one of them.

The invasion’s aims were to destroy Al-Qaeda which had executed the 9/11 attacks and Human Rights violations. UK was an ally of the US, offering support for military action from the start of the invasion. The United State demanded from the Taliban to hand over Usama Bin Laden and expel Al-Qaeda from Afghanistan.

Usama Bin Laden had already been wanted list by the FBI since 1998. The Taliban replied that United State show us the evidence of Usama Bin Laden’s involvement in the 9/11 attacks, and overlooked demands to close down terrorist bases and surrender other terrorist suspects apart from Bin Laden weighed down.

The request become brushed off by way of the US as a meaningless delaying tactic, and it released Operation Enduring Freedom on October 7, 2001, with the United Kingdom. The United States and its allies removed the Taliban from power in the same year which they invaded there, and made army bases near Taliban camp, across the country maximum al-Qaeda and Taliban participants have been no longer captured, escaping to neighboring Pakistan or chickening out to rural or remote mountainous areas at some point of the battle of Tora Bora.

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Casualties in WOT: 

The Global war on terror has massive deaths than another decade in the past century. There’s no extensive agreement on the figure for the wide variety of human beings who have been killed in the battle on Terror. If we see from the start when Al-Qaeda attack the US. Only single this attack thousand of people lost their lives and million dollars lost.

Similarly, the US invade Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq, and other different states they started Airstrikes against the Taliban, and these struck majority of people who were innocent.  Some channels give estimates ranging between 1.2 million and 2 million. Some documents say about the casualties of the conflict on Terror in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan among 518,000 and 549,000.

These figures increased when countries add in them like Syria, Yemen, and other battle zones.

The document expected that much greater may have died from indirect results of struggle consisting of water loss and disease. in addition, they expected that over 38 million human beings have been displaced by way of the publish-Sep 11 wars participated by the US in Yamen, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Pakistan, and soo many others.

The struggle on Terror, spanning a long time, is a multitrillion-dollar battle that value lots extra than at first estimated. The conflict on Terror could have fee $8 trillion for operations between 2001 and 2022 plus $2.2 trillion in destiny fees of veterans’ care over the next 30 years. Out of this wide variety, $2.313 trillion is for Afghanistan, $2.058 trillion for Iraq and Syria, and $355 billion became spent on other warzones.

The U.S withdrawal from Afghanistan: 

The U.S armed forces finished their withdrawal from Afghanistan on 30 August 2021, marking the give up of the 2001–2021 war in Afghanistan. The withdrawal came about in the context of the Doha settlement (officially titled the settlement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan), signed in February 2020 by way of the Trump management and the Taliban without participation with the aid of the Afghan government, which provided for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Afghanistan, in return for a Taliban pledge to prevent al-Qaeda from working in regions under Taliban manage, and will not use the soil of Afghanistan for militancy and future talks among the Taliban and the Afghan government for an everlasting ceasefire.

Read More: https://www.cfr.org/timeline/us-war-afghanistan

In 2011, President Barack Obama announced that America might withdraw from Afghanistan via the quit of 2014, concluding Operation Enduring Freedom. Despite the fact that vast numbers of folks troops were withdrawn by using 2014 and NATO’s global security help pressure (ISAF) had concluded, 9,800 US soldiers remained deployed inside of Afghanistan for the duration of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, a part of NATO’s next Resolute aid project (RSM).

President of the U.S, Donald Trump also wants to withdraw from Afghanistan. Donald Trump said that we should address our country’s internal affairs not external ones. One of Donald Trump’s movement promises was to end the war in Afghanistan. Donald Trump’s election slogan was that “First America” and “Keep America Great and Promises  Made, Promises Kept”.

On 21 August 2017, President Trump unveiled his management’s approach for Afghanistan, announcing “victory could have a clear definition: attacking our enemies,  destroying the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), crushing al-Qaeda, stopping the Taliban from taking over the country and preventing mass terror assaults against individuals before they emerge.

After that Joe Biden came to the government and make policy and once again continue and start negotiation with the Taliban at Doha( capital of Qatar ). US representative was Zalmay Khalilzad and the Taliban representative was Abdul Ghani Baradar.

On 29 February 2020, the agreement was signed between them and officially titled the “Agreement for Bringing to Afghanistan” that provided withdrawal from Afghanistan of all military forces of the United State and its allies. America and the Afghan Taliban signed the Doha Peace agreement at some point and if the Afghan Taliban acted on it then America and its allies’ troops withdraw from Afghanistan.

Some points were that a Taliban pledge to prevent al-Qaeda from operating in areas under Taliban control, Afghan Taliban work for maintaining peace in the whole region, and the Afghan Taliban will not allow the soil of Afghanistan to be used for terrorism.

Realist perspective: 

According to the realist perspective, America fought a war against the Taliban since 2001 and invest billions of dollars but they did not win the war militarily and their economy was continuously falling down. US withdrawal from Afghanistan was due to severe economic loss as they spend billions of dollars during 20 years of war and thousands of American troops lost their lives.

America invade Afghanistan and let down the Taliban government and after a couple of years, there was nothing to do in Afghanistan. Even American Army Chief said in one of his interviews that we do not know for what purpose we came here and what we have to do further after they removed the Taliban government and Beside investing billions of dollars and loss thousand of troops America did not succeed in their purpose and mission of invading Afghanistan and  lost the war militarily from Taliban, that is why America decided to use the “Step Back Strategy” 


The U.S China Rivalry: 

America has a rivalry with China in the South China Sea and in Indo Pacific Region. As China was started strengthening itself in the Asia Pacific, it was inevitable for the United States to ignore the same. It formed various forums like Quad to counter China but stopping him can not be easy. For a future strategy, the US has to put its feet tightly in the Asia Pacific. Paying attention to both places simultaneously can not be termed wise. China is growing very fast in economy and technology.

China does power maximization and influence through BRI and CPEC. America knows that we losing race from China in economic and other sectors. That is why America changed its policy and decided to withdraw from Afghanistan and turned its policy to the Asia Pacific region. As everyone knows that the Asia Pacific strategic importance increased, states around the world are developing new strategies to strengthen their position in the region, and America is also doing this.


The US invaded Afghanistan for power maximization and developing own influence in Central Asia and they continuously fought a war against the Taliban but when they realize that we can’t win the war from Taliban and other side China grew swiftly in the economy and made a position in the Asia Pacific then the US changed policy and decided to withdraw from Afghanistan and start struggling for the Asia Pacific to take a position there. Realists said that every state-run with self-interest and where their self-interest pursuable she will make policy according to self-interest. For instance, the US has self-interest in Central Asia and also in the Asia Pacific and when they realize that our interest cannot achieve in Central Asia then they will change our policy according to interest and withdraw from Afghanistan and begin to give full attention to the Asia Pacific.

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