From a political perspective, it’s difficult to argue with President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Many polls show somewhere in the neighborhood of 70 percent of all Americans – and a majority of Republicans – supported the move to pull the plug after 20 years. 

However, the ramifications of the move will be massive for millions for many years to come. 

Dr. Muqtedar Khan, professor of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Delaware, can talk about the impact on the perception of U.S. military power; President Biden’s legacy; the future of Afghanistan under the Taliban; how improvements in human rights could be eroded; and shifts in regional geopolitics and what this means for Russia, China, India, Pakistan and Iran. 

Dr. Khan posted a video on YouTube outlining five consequences of the withdrawal: 

  • By leaving without achieving its goal of constructing a stable democracy, the 20-year military operation can be seen as a loss and raises questions about U.S. military power, Dr. Khan said. “It may encourage other nations far more powerful to challenge the United States.”
  • Dr. Khan has doubts about President Biden’s prediction that the Afghan government will push back the Taliban and retain control. "If the U.S. and 16 NATO countries can’t do it, how can the Afghan government do it alone?" he said.
  • Dreams of a progressive Afghanistan are in serious jeopardy. “Already, in Taliban-occupied territories, women are being removed from jobs and schools are being clothes.”
  • If the Taliban takes over it will be a geopolitical mess for Pakistan, India, China and Iran, Dr. Khan said. It could support groups in those countries that have similar goals, or “Talibanize” them.
  • If the Taliban succeeds, will Afghanistan become the Afghanistan of 2000? Will this allow for space for extremist groups to grow? Will defeated groups such as ISIS move there from countries like Iran and Syria? It’s possible that the Taliban of today isn’t the Taliban of years past – the U.S. hasn’t designated it as a terrorist organisation and sees them as peace partners. “They are more legitimate than they were 20 years ago. It’s possible they may do less to alienate themselves from international society,” Dr. Khan said.