World Afghans fear US withdrawal could stifle progress as Taliban wait in the shadows
Afghans working for US worry about their future after Biden withdrawal announcement
There are about 18,000 people who have applied for special immigrant visas to the US who are still awaiting approval, according to a State Department official. But how quickly they can move through the red tape built into the program is unclear, given thorough and years-long vetting that often takes place before a visa is granted. For many, that time could be a matter of life and death. "Due to high risk from Taliban and target killing, the company which I am working with told me that I should not go to my job site for a short time.
It's been almost two decades since the United States declared a war on terror, and the country is finally closing the chapter on its longest war.
Presidentannounced from by Sept. 11. Yet, the is stronger than any time since their fall in 2001. As troops return home, the group's power has raised concerns not only of terror reaching Americans at home but more so among the Afghans who are living under the group's shadow government, which controls large swaths of the country.
"It's so hard to keep track of people or plots that develop in these very, very remote regions [of the country]. ... The risk will be ... terrorist[s] plotting to attack the U.S. again from these remote areas of Afghanistan," said retired Col. Steve Ganyard, former deputy assistant secretary of state and an ABC News contributor.
Rejected Afghan interpreters 'facing death' after UK exit
Campaigners say many interpreters fired for trivial reasons are being unfairly barred from the UK.Now in his early 30s, he is one of hundreds of Afghans who worked with British forces as interpreters and support staff, and who may now be targeted by the militants as a result. They fear the risk will only increase when foreign forces pull out this year.
In an exclusive interview, ABC News spoke to a Taliban commander who warned the U.S. that it should withdraw by May 1, the date originally agreed upon under former President Donald Trump.
"If something happens it will be unfortunate for [the] U.S.," said the commander in a statement translated into English.
The commander had been released early from prison as part of the U.S.-Taliban deal.
On April 11, the Taliban announced that it would release 20 Afghan government prisoners as part of its commitment to the historic peace deal with the U.S. The deal calls for the release of 1,000 government officials held by the Taliban in exchange for the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners, The Associated Press.
EXPLAINER: What remains as US ends Afghan 'forever war'
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — After 20 years, America is ending its “forever war” in Afghanistan. Announcing a firm withdrawal deadline, President Joe Biden cut through the long debate, even within the U.S. military, over whether the time was right. Starting Saturday, the last remaining 2,500 to 3,5000 American troops will begin leaving, to be fully out by Sept. 11 at the latest. Another debate will likely go on far longer: Was it worth it? Since 2001, tens of thousands of Afghans and 2,442 American soldiers have been killed, millions of Afghans driven from their homes, and billions of dollars spent on war and reconstruction.
Since the war began in the wake of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, more than 2,400 U.S. soldiers have been killed and over 20,000 service members have been wounded, according toby the Watson Institute. The study found that the war has cost the federal government more than $2.2 trillion.
But that price in money and human lives pales in comparison to the number of innocent Afghan civilians killed in the decadeslong conflict: over 47,000, according to the Watson Institute.
Former defense minister Tamin Asey says that the Taliban have not changed.
"The ideology haven't changed. Their global claim to jihad haven't changed. They are more confident of their victory and they think that they have defeated the United States and NATO," said Asey.
Formal start of final phase of Afghan pullout by US, NATO
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The final phase of ending America's “forever war” in Afghanistan after 20 years formally began Saturday, with the withdrawal of the last U.S. and NATO troops by the end of summer. President Joe Biden had set May 1 as the official start of the withdrawal of the remaining forces — about 2,500-3,500 U.S. troops and about 7,000 NATO soldiers. Even before Saturday, the herculean task of packing up had begun. The military hasPresident Joe Biden had set May 1 as the official start of the withdrawal of the remaining forces — about 2,500-3,500 U.S. troops and about 7,000 NATO soldiers.
The Afghan National Security Forces expressed concern that the peace agreement between the U.S. and the Taliban would still put Afghan citizens in danger. Many are fearful that the nation and its military is still too fragile to fight against extremists if they were to return.
Fawzia Koofi, a major Afghan politician and female rights activist, began her political career in Afghanistan 20 years ago after the fall of the Taliban. Since then, she has worked to help Afghan girls go back to school and pushed for women's equality at home and in the workplace.
Koofi said she's worried that her work on women's equality will be lost after the troops leave.
"I feel like a lot of uncertainty -- things that will be unpredictable," said Koofi. "Uncertainty in terms of what will happen to the women."
She said that speaking out against militant groups is still dangerous and that hundreds of women have been targeted. She had personally survived two assassination attempts.
Kabul on high alert amid 'deadline' for U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan
Kabul on high alert amid 'deadline' for U.S. troop withdrawal from AfghanistanKABUL (Reuters) - Kabul security was ramped up on Saturday as the city braced for reaction from the insurgent Taliban as U.S. troops still present under President Joe Biden's orders, beyond the May 1 withdrawal deadline agreed in 2020 with the Trump administration.
Koofi said she worries the U.S. decision to withdraw will influence other allies to move out as well.
"It has become not only a strategic failure for our international friends, but I must say, also a moral failure for our international friends in terms of leaving their main allies in the middle of nowhere and making the decision to leave Afghanistan," Koofi said.
While the war against the Taliban failed to uproot the militant group, the country has made tremendous strides in the economy, education, health care and gender equality.
Female enrollment in secondary schools grew from 6% in 2003 to 39% in 2017. A September 2020also found that women's life expectancy had jumped by 10 years while childbirth mortality dropped by nearly two-thirds.
By 2020, 27% of parliamentary members in Afghanistan were women, the same study found.
At a girl's high school in Kabul, dozens of teenagers attend classes everyday, but one female student said she believes their ability to continue their education may hang in the balance once the U.S. troops leave.
"We are all worrying about stopping of our schools. My mom went to school, but when the Taliban came to Afghanistan, she was not allowed to go to school," said the student. "She wants me to learn everything I want to learn. She is doing everything for us to go to a school and to learn our studies."
A tale of two Taliban captives .
Mark Frerichs is a 58-year-old American civilian contractor and a former Navy diver. He was abducted in Kabul last year, right around the time the Trump administration was finalizing the deal that would end the United States's troop presence in Afghanistan after 20 years. © Provided by Washington Examiner WB.Defense.jpg His initial captors reportedly turned him over to the shadowy Haqqani network, a group on the State Department's list of terrorist organizations, and it's believed that the Taliban took custody of him sometime last year. Frerichs's family is worried that with U.S.