This isn’t a due date. This is a deadline. This isn’t just a timeline to leave; this is a warning of the violence to come.
It’s worth mentioning that this deadline was initially created by US President Joe Biden, but now, it is in the ownership of the Taliban. They have insisted that all foreign troops must be out of Afghanistan by the August 31 deadline and that no extension would be provided.
President Biden is convinced of the importance of getting out of Afghanistan as fast as humanly possible. He has called the conflict an “unwinnable war” that “does not have a military solution”. He is confident that he will free all Americans from Afghanistan before the date, but there are concerns some may be left behind. Especially after the recent terrorist attacks outside the airport, taking the lives of 12 US Soldiers and over 60 Afghan civilians.
The Taliban have explicitly stated that there will be consequences if foreign troops remain in Afghanistan after August 31st. After Tuesday, if you are still in Afghanistan, that is where you will stay. That is when the Taliban will consolidate their position and begin adopting their policies throughout the nation.
Once again, Biden has placed himself in an incredibly difficult position. There is no option other than to get all Americans out of Afghanistan by Tuesday. If this does not occur, the consequences are severe. Any military attempt to try and recover other people could be met with violence and subsequent military escalation, but refusing to try and free more Americans will damage him within politics domestically. His relaxed approach to Afghanistan has and will continue to cost him.
It is worth acknowledging that America should have withdrawn from Afghanistan over a decade ago. After the success of the 2001 mission, there was no evident need to remain in the nation past 2004/2005, yet they continued with this goal of creating a new democracy, which turned out to be unbelievably fragile.
Furthermore, there is limited rebuttal from world leaders against the Taliban. Now, I’m not saying they should be trying to argue and increase tension, but it does mean that the Taliban have immense power within the nation, which they can and will exploit. This will likely mean a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan with limited means to provide support to helpless civilians. There are so many unknowns with how the new Taliban government will interpret sharia, and with the current situation, it may be too late before we ever find out the damage occurring in the nation.
In Australia, our government has been unsurprisingly conservative in its rhetoric towards Afghanistan. This was epitomised by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, reviving his belief around stopping boats and turning back asylum seekers this week. We back here again? Absolutely not. There is zero reason to return to this rhetoric, yet he still feels some desire to ‘show-off’ a policy that was insanely horrific and useless.
Mr Morrison has promised the rescue of 3000 refugees. The multi-decade pledge from Australia to support Afghanistan is culminating in saving only 3000 people from a regime that beheads those who once worked for its enemies. With Mr Dutton by his side, Mr Morrison will not change his view on this now, but this must be part of the election debate as a way to pressure the Australian government into supporting change.
The formal deadline is rapidly approaching. However, this isn’t a regular due date where you can submit your work and forget the assignment. This due date will be followed by chaos, violence and uncertainty. Everyone must submit their work on time, or else civilians will become desperate to ensure they save their marks, that they take extreme measures.
For now, rescue. After, we must support and create new plans, for we cannot stop a humanitarian crisis with violence. If we try, we have failed to learn from history.