The nation of Afghanistan is not, as it has been described, a graveyard of invading empires.
It is true that Afghanistan’s mountainous fortifications and strong defenses have extracted a steep toll on uninvited foreign armies over the centuries. World powers have indeed dashed themselves against the unforgiving terrain and indomitable spirit of Afghanistan.
The nation is far more than a foil for would-be conquerors, however; more than a mere “Empire Stopper”. It is much more than a coveted geographical jewel of modern military strategy.
The true Afghanistan, and its greatest natural resource, is the Afghan people.
Over the past two decades since the Taliban fell, the people of Afghanistan have been investing in the reconstruction of their homeland. Their contributions have been met by U.S. investment and military support.
Far from being yet another invading empire destined for military failure in Afghanistan, American troops have cooperated closely with the Afghan people, and their elected leadership, to strengthen and support progress in the beleaguered nation.
This partnership between the U.S. and Afghanistan is already bearing the fruits of peace, progress and prosperity in the region. Afghanistan’s economy has more than quadrupled over the past 20 years. Monumental gains in human rights and equality have also been made.
Unfortunately, something is threatening this carefully chartered course to a more peaceful and prosperous modern Afghanistan. A deadline is looming, and with it the power to derail much hard-won progress in the region.
As of May 2021, all remaining U.S. troops may be leaving Afghanistan under a deal negotiated with the Taliban- and leaving the Afghan people to a very uncertain fate.
While a complete withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Afghanistan might seem like a benign move, and perhaps even an end to what has become known as a “forever war”, the removal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan in May would produce the opposite of peace.