But Biden’s decision “regardless of Taliban advances or where prospects for peace stood” also left “uncertain whether even the modest gains of the last two decades will prove sustainable,” it said.
The deal the Trump administration sought with the Taliban was also flawed from the start. Because the Taliban “has been ascendant on the battlefield for more than a decade, it was poorly motivated to indulge peace talks” in Doha, Qatar, “beyond what was necessary to secure the release of more than 5,000 prisoners, ensure the removal of U.S. and UN sanctions, accrue international legitimacy, and claim credit for negotiating the departure of U.S. forces.”
“Notably, none of those objectives required compromise with the Afghan government,” Sopko wrote.
Still, amid the debris of what looked like a failed intervention, “there is no doubt, however, that the lives of millions of Afghans have been improved by U.S. government interventions,” Spoko wrote. By 2018, for example, “life expectancy had jumped from 56 to 65, a 16% increase” since 2001.
Between 2000 and 2019, the mortality rate of children under five “plummeted by more than 50%” and “between 2001 and 2019, Afghanistan’s human development index increased 45%. Between 2002 and 2019, Afghanistan’s GDP per capita nearly doubled, and overall GDP nearly tripled, even accounting for inflation,” though economic growth was closely tied to international aid.
Originally Appeared Here