Conflict in Afghanistan

Kai Blankenship, Print Team Leader

   After 20 years of war, the last remaining U.S. troops withdrew from Afghanistan on Aug. 30, 2021. The war has been the cause of thousands of deaths and cost the United States trillions of dollars. These two decades of fighting ended in the Taliban taking over Afghanistan in mere weeks.

   The U.S. first entered Afghanistan in 2001, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. With the initial goal of defeating Al Qaeda, America remained in Afghanistan, unknowingly starting the longest war in American history. The U.S.successfully removed the Taliban from power, but the Taliban never truly left.

   Over the course of the 20 years of U.S. occupation in Afghanistan, around 2,325 U.S. service members have died. There were even more losses when it comes to Afghan civilians, army and police; those stats totalling to around 106,000 deaths.

   In 2020, Donald Trump developed a peace deal with the Taliban with the terms that all U.S.forces would be out of Afghanistan by May 2021. Joe Biden later extended that date to the end of August.

   With the Taliban returning to power, Afghan citizens, specifically women and children, are attempting to flee the country out of concern for their basic human rights. There are also Afghan citizens that helped the U.S. that fear they will be targeted by the Taliban.

   Many of these fleeing citizens have turned to the airports as a path of escape. Some have been forced to go to extreme lengths in an attempt to leave their country. Footage shows refugees attempting and failing to hang onto the wings of planes, as they would rather risk death than remain in a country ruled by the Taliban.

   The situation is still ongoing, but currently the Taliban are in full control of Afghanistan. Even Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, fled the country’s capital. Countries are taking in Afghan refugees and attempting to assist where they can. People can help these refugees by raising money, donating supplies for those who have fled their homes or simply spreading awareness about the situation.