‘What was the point?’ Afghans rue decades of war as US quits Bagram – News Vibe24

    'What was the point?' Afghans rue decades of war as US quits Bagram - Times of India
    KABUL: As US troops left their main military base in Afghanistan on Friday, marking a symbolic end to the longest war in U.S. history, locals living in the shadow of the base and nearby Kabul were left devastated. .
    Violence has raged across Afghanistan in the weeks since President Joe Biden announced that troops would be withdrawn unconditionally by 9/11.
    With peace talks in Qatar running and about a quarter of the country’s regions falling to the Taliban in recent weeks, according to a study, many are worried about chaos.
    Malek Mir, an engineer in Bagram who saw the Soviet Army and then the Americans come and go, said he was left with a deep sense of sadness at the futility of a foreign presence.
    “They came bombing the Taliban and got rid of their regime – but now they are gone when the Taliban are so empowered that they will take over soon,” he said.
    “What was the meaning of all the disasters, murders and misery they brought us? I wish they had never come.”
    More than 3,500 foreign troops have been killed in two decades of war, which has killed more than 100,000 civilians since 2009 alone, according to United Nations records.
    Some, however, say the presence of foreign troops has distorted Afghanistan’s economy and that it is time for the country to stand on its own two feet.
    “Americans are leaving a legacy of failure, they have failed to contain the Taliban or corruption,” said Sayed Naqibullah, a store owner in Bagram. “A small percentage of Afghans have become so rich that the vast majority are still living in extreme poverty.
    “In a way, we are happy that they are gone … We are Afghans and we will find our way.”
    In the nearby capital, the news was a new reminder of the growing panic that has plagued many parts of Afghan society, especially in urban areas, since Biden announced his retirement in April.
    “Everyone is worried that if foreign forces leave Afghanistan, the Taliban will take over. Then what do we do?” asked Zumarai Wafa, a Kabul shopkeeper.
    Wafa and others described a downturn in business and signs of many city residents trying to leave the country, with hundreds lined up outside embassies seeking visas.
    Medical student Muzhda, 22, who asked to be identified by a single name for security reasons, said her family had decided to leave the country due to deteriorating security.
    He said he wondered what the future held for women if the Taliban returned to power and restricted access to women’s education, as they had done in the past.
    The Taliban say they have changed and will enforce women’s rights according to cultural traditions and religious norms.
    However, Mouzda said she was disappointed and frustrated by the US departure.
    “Withdrawal of foreign troops in the current situation is absurd,” he said. “It is now clear that the Americans came here for their own purposes, not to help and cooperate with Afghanistan.”
    “I am very sad and disappointed, I had many dreams that will not come true.”

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