This is a letter from a friend who spent many years in Afghanistan as a contractor and helping the people with the progress they made. Read up. We definitely made a difference, and maintaining a peaceful presence would have been expected and beneficial to not only Afghans, but the entire world:
Today is a really sad, devastating and infuriating day.
In 20 years - Afghanistan schools & universities increased substantially - some say surpassing the numbers in Pakistan and Iran
In 2001, Afghanistan had 1 PhD, in 2021 Afghanistan had 15,000.
In 2021, 60% of students in universities were female
In 2001, one city in Afghanistan (unnamed) had no factories. In 2021, that same city had ~1,000 factories, exporting goods to neighboring countries - thus a growing economy
In 2001, healthcare in Afghanistan was abysmal. I remember reading stories of men searching everywhere for sutures for their wives who needed them for maternity care. In 2021, hospitals provided modern maternity care for women and performed complex surgeries
In 2001, medical care couldn't even take blood samples and provide analysis. In 2021, all of that had changed
In 2001, people had to take ill family members to India for care. In 2021, that care was available in Afghan cities.
Afghanistan lost 70,000 Afghan soldiers in their fight for freedom and many ANP (Afghan National Police) as well
Afghanistan has one of the largest military bases in Asia - Bagram AFB. Now, thanks to our bungled exit, the Taliban has 12,000 tanks, 100,000 rangers (apparently being sold to civilians except how can a person pay for it when they can only withdraw $200/week from the bank)?
In 2001, Afghanistan was isolated. In 2021, so many of us had contributed towards this fledgling democracy. Afghans are our friends, our family. So of course we are distraught over their suffering. We're appalled that a terrorist organization would be recognized as a legitimate government.
If the Afghan people wanted to be ruled by the Taliban, why were millions desperate to escape?
No one should be patting each other on the back lauding our "successful" exit.
We stayed in Germany, Japan and South Korea for much longer than 20 years - we're still in those countries. What was the problem with staying a little longer, providing some show of force to protect Afghans?
We lost 418,000 American lives fighting WWII.
We lost 40,000 American lives in the Korean war.
We lost 58,000 American lives in Viet Nam.
We lost 5,500 American lives in Iraq.
We lost 2,200 American lives in Afghanistan.
Significantly less than any other war. I would not want to lose any American lives - of course, but how could we not say that we were making a difference worth providing some continued support for?
It would have been less expensive to continue to support this young democracy than create a diaspora of 100,000's.
This is a sad, sad day.
(Author kept private for their safety).