If you’ve kept up with the news in the past week, you know that Afghanistan is in major trouble. The US held troops in Afghanistan for 20 years, and the end of the two decades came this year. Why were we there in the first place? In 2001, Afghanistan was controlled by the Taliban, an Islamic extremist group. Following 9/11, the US determined that Al-Qaeda, the Osama-Bin Laden led terrorist group that committed the attacks, were hiding in Afghanistan with the help of the Taliban. Since they refused to give Bin-Laden over, the US invaded Afghanistan with the goal of pushing the Taliban out of power and preventing terrorist groups from using the country as a base, and we’ve been there ever since. Through years of fighting, the Taliban were pushed out of power, and peace agreements were made.
Now, things have become problematic. Ever since we removed our troops, the Taliban went on the offensive, seizing every key city throughout Afghanistan. On Sunday, the last domino fell as Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, was taken over by Taliban insurgents. Their victory was symbolized by two things: the Afghan government fleeing the country through planes and helicopters, and the US embassy being evacuated by troops while they were destroying documents.
The Taliban takeover presents many problems not just domestically, but globally as well. Firstly, and this is the most obvious one, is the increase in terrorism. With the Taliban in control, Afghanistan can once again become a haven for terrorist groups such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda, which holds a national security threat for the US. We’ve seen how terrorist attacks have affected the stock market, with 9/11 causing commodity prices to skyrocket and the stock market indices falling the most in a single day ever at the time. Second, it could cause disruption in Pakistan, an emerging market country that is also a nuclear power. Pakistan is very connected with the Taliban, and the uprising of their insurgents could easily embolden Pakistani radicals which could destabilize the country. Lastly, and most importantly, is the possible uprising of China in the Middle East. China already has plans in Afghanistan with the Belt and Road Initiative, and they want to tap into the country’s vast rare-earth mineral deposits, which would provide them with a great boost of resources. The Taliban and China have been interested in each other, and they have a mutual ally in Pakistan. China’s strong economy and foreign relations becoming stronger could be a problem for other countries, especially the United States, who don’t want to lose their role as the world’s superpower. What do you think about the Taliban takeover?
I am not a financial advisor and my comments should never be taken as financial advice. Investments come with risk, so always do your research and analysis beforehand.