What makes these statements so remarkable is that experts warn that if the United States withdraws its troops from Afghanistan in the absence of a peace agreement, Afghanistan will suffer a fate remarkably similar to what is happening in northern Syria. In this week’s debate, Warren denounced Trump for having “created a bigger-than-ever humanitarian crisis.” But earlier this month, the International Crisis Group warned that, if American troops unilaterally leave Afghanistan, “Afghans could pay a heavy price” as that country’s war “would likely intensify and become more chaotic.” A Rand Corporation report in January predicted that following a unilateral American withdrawal, “civilian deaths will spike, and refugee flows will increase significantly,” and that “the major advances that Afghans have achieved in democracy, press freedom, human rights, women’s emancipation, literacy, longevity, and living standards will be rolled back.” In September, nine former American diplomats with experience in Afghanistan pleaded, “A major withdrawal of US forces should follow, not come in advance of [a] real peace agreement,” or else the United States might “betray all those who have believed our promises or stepped forward with our encouragement to promote democracy and human rights.”…

The parallels between Afghanistan and northern Syria aren’t merely humanitarian. In condemning Trump’s actions in Syria, Warren accused him of having “helped ISIS get another foothold, a new lease on life.” But experts forecast a similar terrorist resurgence if Warren carries out her proposed Afghan withdrawal. Following a unilateral American departure, the Rand report predicts, “extremist groups, including Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, [will] gain additional scope to organize, recruit, and initiate terrorist attacks against U.S. regional and homeland targets.” In their joint statement, the nine former American diplomats envision “an Afghan civil war in which the Islamic State (IS) presence could expand its already strong foothold” and “the Taliban would maintain their alliance with al-Qaeda. All of this could prove catastrophic for US national security as it relates to our fight against both al-Qaeda and IS.”