Afghanistan, Then and Now

Emma Schifferl, Assistant Editor-in-Chief

On August 31, 2021, the last U.S service members left Kabul, finishing their evacuation of U.S. allies and marking an end to the 20-year war in Afghanistan. Tension and fear run high in Afghanistan, as the group known as the Taliban has taken over the country. Families in the United States are also on edge after learning that around 100 United States citizens are still in Afghanistan, under threat from the new ruling government and other terrorist organizations.

Withdrawal from Afghanistan started as far back as late February 2020. The number of troops began to dwindle some time ago. To put the numbers in perspective, at the end of 2016 the number of U.S troops in Afghanistan was around 29,950. At the beginning of 2021, there were only 650 troops. With war comes casualties, and by the end of this war, 2,372 U.S soldiers had died, 50,000 Afghan civilians had been killed, and 70,000 Afghan soldiers had perished.

Fears have only grown as reports emerge about the U.S citizens who are now stuck in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, as well as the Afghan citizens and their families who helped the U.S government being taken out of their homes and killed. Around 25-30 school-age children and their families are currently stuck in the country after going to Afghanistan to visit loved ones. While the U.S government has tried to contact any U.S citizens left in the country, few have returned its calls.

The U.S government also faces growing backlash as many in both the United States and the rest of the world criticize the withdrawal from Afghanistan. Many believe that the plan did not go well at all, causing more pain and damage than was necessary. After a bombing at one of the gates of the airport in Kabul, which killed 13 U.S Marines and over 90 Afghan citizens, many called out President Biden for his lack of diplomacy.

The future may be unclear, but the world is still waiting to see what happens to the country of Afghanistan as it adjusts to living under the Taliban.