US Leaves Afghanistan

US Soldiers in Afghanistan
US Soldiers in Afghanistan (source)

The United States has ended a near 20-year occupation of Afghanistan. The American Government had agreed with its adversary, the Taliban, to leave before September 1st.

The American military had been occupying the central Asian country since invading in 2001 as a response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington D.C. At that time, the Taliban was hiding terrorist leader Osama bin Laden and protecting his terrorist network, Al Qaeda. Osama bin Laden was killed by American forces in Pakistan, in 2011.

The American President, Joe Biden, defended the decision to leave in a recent speech, in which he said his choice was between sending more troops and withdrawing. He said he did not want America’s longest war to become a ‘forever war’. He also said that, in the future, the American military would not be used to ‘remake’ other countries.

President Biden was criticized by some people who thought the United States should stay in Afghanistan. He was also criticized for the chaotic withdrawal, which included a suicide bombing near the Kabul airport that killed 169 Afghans and 13 American soldiers. The President claimed the withdrawal was a logistical success that was always likely to be messy.


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Worksheet with activities


Useful Language

  • Occupation (n) - when a military moves into an area and controls it for some time
  • Adversary (n) - an enemy or opponent
  • Invade (v) - to enter a place to take control by force
  • Defend (v) - to speak in support of something
  • Troops (n, pl) - groups of soldiers
  • Withdraw (v) - to leave an area
  • Remake (v) - to make something into something else
  • Chaotic (adj) - without order
  • Logistical (adj) - to do with the organization of many people or things
  • Messy (adj) - unpleasant,disorganized


Discuss the following questions with your partner(s).

  1. What do you know about Afghanistan?
  2. The Taliban now rules Afghanistan. Many people consider them to be traditional and conservative. What are some traditional and conservative values in your country?
  3. Some worry that under Taliban rule, women will have fewer rights and opportunities. What do you think about this?
  4. Do you remember September 11th, 2001? If so, what memories do you have of that day? If not, what have you learned about it?
  5. Was invading Afghanistan the right thing for the United States to do? Why or why not?
  6. Was it a good idea for the United States to leave Afghanistan? Should they have left earlier?
  7. President Biden doesn’t want to use the American military to ‘remake’ countries. Do you agree or disagree with his idea?
  8. The United States has military bases in many countries around the world. Why is this?
  9. What do you think about terrorism? Is it a big problem where you live?
  10. Have you considered joining the military? What does your country’s military usually do?