The notion of ending the Afghanistan war has always been a hotly contested issue. Now that the United States is finally in the process of bringing its troops home, the debate over the nation’s involvement in the region has intensified.
High-profile individuals on the left and the right have taken aim at President Joe Biden for ending the 20-year-war. Politicians and influencers are hammering the administration over Afghanistan. But the activist media, which has pretended to be in line with the American public when it comes to avoiding wars has taken a slightly different tack.
To put it simply, they are trying to scare the American public into opposing the withdrawal.
Several media outlets have published reports casting the decision to remove troops from Afghanistan in a decidedly negative light. They have highlighted the Taliban’s resurgence and the brutality of its quest to reconquer the country. Others have focused on the oppressive treatment of women that is bound to occur after the last soldiers return home.
But most of these organizations have published reports intimating that this move could result in more terrorist activity in the Middle East and the western world. Indeed, these outlets are crafting a narrative predicting that withdrawing from Afghanistan will lead to more terrorist activity in the United States.
Bloomberg published an article in which the author suggested that America’s withdrawal from the region could inspire radical Islamic terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and others to conduct more terrorist attacks. Ruth Pollard writes:
Jihadist groups based in the country, some with transnational agendas like al-Qaeda, now have a template for defeating governments backed by major powers and have been emboldened by the Taliban’s lightning-fast advance. This is happening as the jihadi ecosystem is experiencing the lowest counter-terrorism pressure in the last two decades, effectively getting free rein.
Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s former ambassador to Washington, told Pollard “the Taliban remain connected to al-Qaeda and other international terror groups by ideology, shared finances and training, and even marriage.” He warned:
Given that jihadists do not think much of international borders and consider the current global order un-Islamic, it is only a matter of time before they set their sights on Europe and the U.S. again.
NPR has published several pieces cautioning about the potential resurgence of radical Islamic terrorism. In one of these articles, it stated that Afghanistan could once again become a “safe haven” for terrorists. During an appearance on “All Things Considered,” former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said:
If they take control of Afghanistan, there is no question in my mind that they will provide a safe haven for al-Qaida, for ISIS and for terrorism in general.
He added: “And that constitutes, frankly, a national security threat to the United States.”
The report also indicates that the Taliban is using its position to gain support from countries like Iran, Russia, and China. The author points out, “China has reportedly promised big investments in energy and infrastructure projects, including the building of a road network in Afghanistan and is also eyeing the country’s vast, untapped, rare-earth mineral deposits.”
The Chinese government is also ready to recognize the Taliban if it gains control of more of the country according to the report.
In another article, NPR noted the possibility of a significant humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan as the result of the U.S. withdrawing its troops. The article noted that almost 250,000 people had been forcibly removed from their homes since May. About 80 percent are women and children, according to a United Nations refugee agency spokesperson.
NPR also noted a U.N. report showing an alarming rise in the number of women and children killed and injured in May and June. This figure supposedly coincides with American and international troops beginning to leave the area.
The Washington Post put out an article stating that America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan will likely cause allies to distrust the U.S. The author wrote:
U.S. allies complain that they were not fully consulted on a policy decision that potentially puts their own national security interests at risk — in contravention of President Biden’s promises to recommit to global engagement.
And many around the world are wondering whether they could rely on the United States to fulfill long-standing security commitments stretching from Europe to East Asia.
President Biden has also been criticized for his handling of the withdrawal, with some arguing that it is being performed inefficiently and pointing out that the administration might be leaving behind Afghanis who assisted the U.S. military – especially translators who might be targeted by the Taliban for aiding the U.S. However, at this point it does not appear that the White House intends to reverse course.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently indicated the withdrawal is still proceeding as planned and that the U.S. accomplished its goals in the region.
“This is manifestly not Saigon,” he said during an appearance on ABC’s “This Week.” He continued: “We went into Afghanistan 20 years ago with one mission in mind, and that was to deal with the people who attacked us on 9/11, and that mission has been successful.”
If the media is to be believed, things aren’t exactly looking optimistic for the United States because of its decision to end what many believe to be an aimless war. Indeed, they seem to be trying to prime the American public to believe that any terrorist attack that occurs in the future is somehow tied to the lack of troops in Afghanistan.
Reports which include interviews with military experts who support the ending of the war seem to be scarce. The media is not as intent on showcasing the anti-war point of view as they were under President George W. Bush. The same folks who condemned Trump for killing Iranian military officer Qasem Soleimani seem dead set on keeping our soldiers in harm’s way for some unknown reason.
The question is: Will the media’s fear tactics work or will Americans remain steadfast in their commitment to ending unnecessary military conflicts?