Foreign Policy Watch: India-Afghanistan

Afghan exit- not the end of the road for the U.S.


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Paper 2- Implications of Afghanistan exit for the US


The debate has abruptly shifted to the future of the United States after its withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Background of the US presence in Afghanistan

  • The terrorist attacks of 9/11, which was a game-changing global experience, led the U.S. to enter Afghanistan.
  •  The terrorist attacks transformed the geopolitics of the world.
  • The most powerful country in the world, which had the capacity to destroy the world many times over, became powerless before a few terrorists.
  •  Once the responsibility of the attack was traced to Osama bin Laden and the terrorists in Afghanistan, it was imperative for the U.S. to retaliate by overthrowing the Taliban regime.

How US presence in Afghanistan benefited the region

  • After accomplishing its mission the US was not able to withdraw because the Afghanistan government was unable to withstand the onslaught of the Taliban and other terrorist groups.
  • Even neighbouring countries, including India, were strongly in favour of continuing the American presence.
  • The US presence helped to provide a certain stability for Afghanistan.
  • The result of their presence was the prevalence of relative peace in the region except that Pakistan fattened the Taliban with American largesse.
  • The U.S. presence in Afghanistan had succeeded in containing the dangers of terrorism for two decades.

Way forward for the US and the rest of the world

  • The US is still the most powerful economic and military power around which the whole constellation of the world rotates.
  • Democratic world leadership: The world has a stake in ensuring that a democratic nation leads the world rather than an expansionist dictatorship which has no public opinion to restrain it.
  • Maintain the US leadership: The free world has a responsibility to maintain the American leadership of the world till a wiser and more benign alternative is found.


Much has been written about a post-American world for some years now. But it looks that the demise of America, as Mark Twain said about the reports of his own death, is greatly exaggerated.

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