The Lessons for Asia as Biden Deserts Afghanistan

The days of Trump’s America First isolationism that had seen the U.S. reject a multilateral trade bloc, rip up old treaties, and insult allies, were over. America was back.

While Biden was revving up the Quad, he was simultaneously working on a full troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, continuing with Trump’s policy to exit what the Americans now call the “endless war.” Last year, Trump made a peace agreement with the Taliban. Not only was the Afghan government kept out of this deal, the U.S. even asked Kabul to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners to meet the Taliban’s conditions.

The return of the Taliban means the revival of their primitive interpretation of religious laws and tribal culture, reversing years of progress in freedom of expression and human rights. In areas that they have captured, the Taliban have already shut down the media, issued orders prohibiting men from shaving their beards and women from stepping out without a male companion.

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