Afghanistan: the war that would not end

Eimy Gonzalez, Assistant Editor

As we may all be well aware, U.S. military troops were ordered to completely withdraw from Afghanistan. President Joe Biden gave this controversial order with hopes to end the longest war the United States has ever fought.  

President Biden is carrying the heavy weight of criticism, blame and pain from a decision that was already in place from the previous administration. Biden, however, had the courage to follow through with previous agreements, setting Afghanistan 20 years back in time. 

I am saying that it was courageous, not because it was a good decision, but because it was a tough one to make.  

For 20 years in Afghanistan, freedom seemed more palpable. Women were present, dreaming and following those dreams by utilizing every available tool and resource. There was hope in the streets, sounds of laughter and unity between. I am sure it wasn’t perfect, but it was a start.  

Now, the chaos on the streets is overwhelming. Bombings, shootings, blood and screams. People are frightened for their lives, because of the violence and the extremist culture. The laughter has turned to cries, while little boys are sent to be warriors and women are beaten to death for simply being human. Not to mention, the hunger that is now accompanying terror and grief.  

I cannot say this was a good decision, because, in my life, I had never seen something so horrid. However, I cannot say that it was a bad decision either.  

The war in Afghanistan was an expensive one. Per President Biden, about $300 million were spent daily. 

How would that incredible amount look in American infrastructure, in healthcare, in supporting education, creating jobs or even investing in the environment. Not only that, how would it have looked if most of it had been invested in Afghanistan as education and resources for their people and government to strategically fight back.  

As Biden noted, the goal was never nation building, and yet what if that had been one of the main goals from the beginning. 

Would Afghanistan be a different country today if specific help for their people, government, influence and economy had been provided?  

Nevertheless, in a war, the greatest expense is not the money disbursed but the lives lost. From the very first person that takes their last breath for the sake of conflict, it is already too costly of an endeavor. 

In the Afghanistan war, 2,461 American lives were lost. Afghan citizens had to deal with their own losses too. 66,000 Afghan military and police gave their lives and about 47,245 civilians did not make it out of this conflict. Not to mention, the allies, aid workers, and journalists.  

I am not a politician, I have never fought in a war, and I certainly have never been the president of the United States or of any country, for that matter, but I am certain that there are millions of different actions that would have been taken to receive a different outcome. Those opportunities were available from day one. Yet, there is no time to point fingers and lay the blame now, the damage has been done.  

Rather, how are we, the people, questioning our authorities? There must be alliances that can be forged to help the people of Afghanistan, resources for its citizens to migrate easily or the creation of treaties for people to live in peace, for people to have a choice. I refuse to believe that the United States will just turn their backs on this offense to democracy and human rights.  

Even if it is a small gesture, there is always something that can be done.  

As individuals let us donate, sign petitions, share information and ask the right questions.