Joe Biden’s brave but extraordinarily risky choice

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“All war must end.” Eminence grise of Ronald Reagan and incidentally cousin of Elisabeth Kopp, Fred Iklé had a clear idea of ​​the duration of a US military engagement. In deciding to withdraw American forces from Afghanistan to end America’s longest war, Joe Biden seems to be inspired by it. His decision is courageous and assumed, but also much criticized. She could mark her presidency.

Fourth president to have to face the Afghan question, twenty years after the attacks of September 11, 2001 fomented in the mountains of Tora Bora, the democrat resolves an impossible dilemma. Because this Central Asian country of 38 million inhabitants is in a political and economic impasse.

Read also: Afghanistan at the time of the American withdrawal

The reasons for the withdrawal are not those of Vietnam, whose fiasco had forced Lyndon Johnson, under popular pressure, not to covet a new presidential term. Joe Biden goes in the direction of a public opinion tired by the military adventures and unsecured by the pandemic. The president is setting other priorities so as not to leave his administration paralyzed by an impossible war.

The reason is also strategic. In a 21st century where the geopolitical balance of power is changing, the Democratic president no longer sees terrorism as the main threat. It is determined to use all the resources at its disposal to pursue higher priority objectives: climate change, China, infrastructure. He also makes an observation: the Doha agreement, concluded in 2020 between the United States and the Taliban, is leading nowhere.

The risk of a precipitous departure of the Americans that Donald Trump himself engaged remains nevertheless considerable. A similar withdrawal from Iraq decided by Obama in 2011 created a vacuum that the Islamic State group took advantage of. Due to the extreme weakness of the Afghan government and the rise of the Taliban, if not warlords, a further plunge of the country into civil war is a realistic assumption. Afghan women would be the first victims. Despite the drifts of a war that has become absurd, advances in women’s rights have been real, but risk going by the wayside with a power controlled by the Taliban who have still not cut ties with Al-Qaida.

Also read the interview with Amin Tarzi: “With the departure of the Americans, we must fear a power vacuum in Afghanistan”