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The fallout from Afghanistan’s Taliban takeover

Published: Aug. 16, 2021 at 10:49 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - 20 years later, so many are asking the same questions about Afghanistan: How did we get to this point?

How did Afghanistan basically end up under the same control after a 20 year war?

Many local academics have studied this and say the answers are complicated.

When the United States entered Afghanistan in 2001, there was always worry that a foreign power entering this unstable region could end poorly.

“When wars like this end and everyone sort of knew this was going to happen, usually when the foreign power pulls out there’s the hope that there will be ‘decent interval’ between that time and the time the government collapses,” said Marc Simon, PhD. of Bowling Green State University.

Simon, the BGSU political science chairman, says the speed at which the Taliban took control is the biggest surprise. Having them back in control, after so many lives were lost and money spent to get them out of power is troubling.

“The people from the area here, who’ve been to Afghanistan, who’ve met the people, who fought with the Afghan National Army. They know that there are a lot of good people there and a lot of people had the same values that we did and were really trying to make it happen. It’s got to be crushing to them to have invested their lives in this and see it end this way,” said Simon.

“There were a series of bad choices over twenty years that had led us here. I don’t know that there was necessarily that could have been made along that could have prevented this” said Joel Voss, PhD. of the University of Toledo.

Voss, a political science professor at UT, says all 4 presidents over the last 20 years share blame for how this all turned out and that Al Qaeda actually accomplished one of its objectives.

“One of their stated goals was to get the United States embroiled in a long term, costly war that made it weaker. Unfortunately in that sense they succeeded in their goal where we didn’t succeed in our goal,” said Voss.

“It’s going to be decades before a legitimate stable government evolves there if it ever does. I think we’re going to see a lot of fragmentation and civil war. We’re also probably going to hear a lot of terrible things the Taliban are going to do because we know what they did in the 90s when they were in power,” said Simon.

Experts also say if you’re not able to get a stable legitimate government that has well-armed and trained security forces to keep the country together, when you leave it’s likely that government collapses. That did not happen in Afghanistan.

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