Afghanistan withdrawal dominates US presidential campaign discussions

The US withdrawal from Afghanistan has become a central issue in the discussions of candidates in the US presidential election, with rallies across various states highlighting the topic.

Former President Donald Trump, a potential Republican candidate, criticized his successor, Joe Biden, for leaving behind military equipment valued at $85 billion. “We are a nation that surrendered in Afghanistan, leaving behind dead soldiers, American citizens, and $85 billion worth of the finest military equipment,” Trump remarked. He emphasized that China has “occupied” Bagram, a significant base for American troops in Afghanistan. “Abandoning Bagram, one of the largest military bases in the world, cost us billions of dollars many years ago. It’s located just one hour away from where China manufactures its nuclear weapons, and now China occupies Bagram,” Trump added.

Nikki Haley, another candidate, attributed the outcomes of the Russia-Ukraine war and the Israel-Hamas conflicts to the US’s withdrawal policies in Afghanistan. “You have China conducting cyber-attacks on our infrastructure, and Russia obscuring their activities with satellites. Make no mistake, none of this would have happened had we not withdrawn from Afghanistan,” she stated.

However, some political analysts suggest that such statements by US officials are aimed at electioneering. “After the presidential election, we will see what approach the next US administration takes regarding Afghanistan,” said Arian Sharifi, former head of threat assessment at the National Security Council. “The Doha agreement is the only document to which both the Taliban and the US have committed for the people of Afghanistan. I hope the US pays serious attention to this matter.”

After 20 years of presence, the US exited Afghanistan in August 2021 amid the collapse of the Afghan government. The withdrawal has received significant criticism from members of the US Congress and American politicians.