A U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III from the 437th Airlift Wing, Joint Base Charleston, NC, takes off from Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, on Dec 4, 2011. The C-17 can carry large equipment, supplies and troops directly to small airfields in harsh conditions. U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Photographer Matt Hecht, Creative Commons

After twenty years of woefully misguided military involvement, President Biden announced the United State’s withdrawal from Afghanistan on Aug. 16. The announcement is extremely bad news for many Afghan citizens, especially those who advocated for human rights under the notion that they would be protected by the US. Now, millions of civilians and allies are in danger and the US has decided to turn its back on the same country it devastated for over two decades.

In an interview with TRT World, activist Mahbooba Seraj illustrates just how seriously Biden’s decision to leave will affect the progress of Afghan society, especially pertaining to the freedoms of women and children.

“They’re destroying something we worked so hard for,” Seraj said. “What’s happening in Afghanistan today is going to put the country back 200 years. Again.”

This is not the first time the US has invaded a country for its own self-interest and completely compromised the humanitarian aspect of the mission during the process. This pattern of failed colonization and imperialism has resulted in thousands of casualties and is ultimately a testament to just how poorly the US has handled the conflict in Afghanistan. US leaders promised safety to those who decided to fight for human rights, yet it seems as though President Biden is abandoning the very allies we were sent to protect.

The future is looking bleak for many now that the proposed Aug. 31 deadline has passed. With no indication that there will be a program to grant refugees with widespread parole into the US, or even plans to transport refugees out of Afghanistan after this week, many at-risk people will be left behind to fend for themselves under Taliban rule.

The US’s involvement in Afghanistan has always been self-serving at its core, but Biden’s decision to abruptly evacuate US military troops and limit aid to Afghan civilians is just one issue. Officials have also failed to come up with a comprehensive exit plan for those who need to seek refuge, demonstrating just how little US leaders care about anybody but Americans. It is evident throughout the official White House remarks on Afghanistan that Biden stands by his decision and largely blames Afghanistan’s leaders and troops for their supposed unwillingness to fight back against the Taliban.

We gave them every chance to determine their own future. What we could not provide them was the will to fight for that future,” Biden said. “It is wrong to order American troops to step up when Afghanistan’s own armed forces would not.”

So far, 335,000 civilians have perished as a direct result of the War on Terror, according to the Watson Institute. Unless the US makes an effort to provide some relief to those affected by this senseless humanitarian nightmare, that number will grow at an alarming rate. Now it’s up to lawmakers to decide how much we should be helping Afghan refugees, and their decision could potentially affect the fate of millions.

Those interested in donating to Afghan refugee relief can find a detailed list of resources here.

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