United States Grapples with Aftermath of Withdrawal from Afghanistan
On August 31, 2021, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. announced that the war in Afghanistan was over. Before departing, U.S. forces evacuated roughly 120,000 people, including U.S. citizens, diplomats, local U.S. embassy staff, and Afghan interpreters, in a massive airlift effort, and Biden declared the mission an “extraordinary success.” However, questions arose about numerous aspects of the withdrawal, especially the speed of the Taliban takeover and an erroneous airstrike on August 29 that killed ten civilians, including seven children. Congress and the executive branch launched investigations to understand these outcomes. The Biden administration is also working to resettle evacuated Afghans, while continuing to assist U.S. nationals and others in danger in Afghanistan with efforts to leave the country and attempting to deliver humanitarian aid, both of which require navigating relations with the Taliban.