A Syracuse University International Affairs professor says there is reason for concern after the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan this fall. President Joe Biden announced yesterday the United States will fully remove troops from Afghanistan starting September 11th, exactly 20 years after the conflict began. Maxwell School Professor Robert Murrett also served in the navy for over 30 years. He says the US’ biggest focus now will be monitoring the Taliban’s activity in the country.
“The continued territorial gains which are likely by the Taliban forces, the continued viability of the Afghanistan government and challenges with the Taliban make it to them: whether it’s some sort of shared governing model or one that’s not shared at all in the case of significant territorial gains by the Taliban.” said Murrett.
Murrett says the main goal has been preventing terrorists from completely dominating regions in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
“We’re able to conduct a series of operations in and around Afghanistan that were very important relative to diminishing the ability of it to serve as a terrorist safe haven. The broader issue there is the ungoverned or semi-governed areas that can be used by bad actors to mount attacks outside of places like Afghanistan but also other areas around the globe.” said Murrett.
Although the conflict has cost trillions of dollars and thousands of lives, Murrett says Afghanistan is certainly better off.
“Women in Afghanistan now can go to school and get educated. The establishment of a struggling but nonetheless representative government and elections in Afghanistan. Also, eradication of the fundamentals of their economy and specifically narcotics and making that less of a factor then some other things that they can depend on. So, Afghanistan is a much better place today than it was certainly in 2001 under the Taliban.” said Murrett.
Murrett once troops are withdrawn, the only remaining US presence will be an embassy. He says the level of security there is likely to be under a lot of scrutiny after September.