US cannot afford to turn its back on Afghanistan, former US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates

Washington: – Former US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates warned, ‘Most US citizens feel that the conflict in Afghanistan should be over soon. But it will not be in the interest of the United States to turn its back on Afghanistan for this purpose. Because in that scenario, the Taliban will take advantage of the vacuum created in the country to take over the country. Pakistan and China will assist the Taliban to achieve this.’ Gates criticised that at the same time, the US ignored that after being expelled from Afghanistan, the Taliban regrouped in Pakistan.   


It has been a month since US President Joe Biden announced military withdrawal from Afghanistan. This military withdrawal process will be completed on 11th September. While the US military is being withdrawn, there is an increase in the Taliban attacks. On Tuesday, the Taliban attacked health workers in the city of Jalalabad, killing four. The Taliban targeted health workers administering Pulse Polio doses to the children in the city.   

Taliban bitterly opposes campaigns like the Pulse Polio. Taliban, who is also against girls’ education and participation of women in politics, has increased its attacks on the girls’ schools in Afghanistan. The demand that the United States and NATO should not withdraw the military from Afghanistan is gaining ground because of these attacks. But the Biden administration is firm on its decision to withdraw the army.   

Former Secretary of Defence Robert Gates strongly opposed the military withdrawal in an article written for a US newspaper. President Biden wants to bring the US soldiers to the homeland. Gates expressed concern in his report that President Biden has not thought of the long-term effects of the withdrawal.  

Gates pointed out, ‘Taliban, who is not interested in forming a coalition government, will connect with China to establish its government in Afghanistan. China, which is eying the mineral deposits in Afghanistan, also will recognise the Taliban government and provide economic assistance. In that case, Afghanistan will join the ambitious Chinese scheme, Belt and Road initiative.’ Gates levelled an accusation, ‘After it was expelled from Afghanistan in 2011 by the United States, the Taliban shifted its base to Pakistan, where they regrouped. They were assisted by the Pakistani leaders in the process. The then dictator of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf, created safe havens for Taliban in Pakistan.’ The former Secretary of State criticised that these safe havens missed the attention of the United States, and this was a huge mistake.  

Before this, former Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton also had advised the Biden administration to reconsider military withdrawal from Afghanistan. Former military officials also are pointing to the adverse effects of the military withdrawal. Even the former Secretary of Defence, Robert Gates, is cautioning the Biden administration regarding the military withdrawal.   

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