An attempt by CNN to rally against the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan on the pretext of protecting women’s rights there has drawn pushback, with netizens criticizing the notion as driven by an imperialist agenda.
“Concerns mount that US withdrawal from Afghanistan could risk progress on women’s rights,” read the headline on the article published by the cable news channel on Saturday. Citing a chorus of Democratic and Republican lawmakers as well as several Afghan officials, the piece makes a case for keeping American troops in the war-ravaged country until “the conditions on the ground are right – regardless of the date on the calendar.”
Noting that US President Joe Biden signaled that the May 1 deadline for the troop pullout will unlikely be met, CNN argues that “a precipitous withdrawal” would have spelled doom for “hard-won gains for women and civil society in Afghanistan.”
The argument that the US presence on the ground is necessary so that Afghan civil society does not crumble failed to strike chord with many. The article quickly got ratioed on Twitter, triggering a torrent of criticism and mockery.
“It’s disgusting the way the corporate press serves as the propaganda wing for endless war,” a libertarian commenter chimed in, while another took issue with the pretext CNN cited to delay the withdrawal. “Woke imperialism strikes again,”he tweeted.
“Equity, inclusion, and de-colonization requires the continued occupation Afghanistan,” journalist Michael Tracey wrote, paraphrasing the CNN message.
Some denounced CNN for apparently taking more interest in the US being the world’s policeman than in actual Americans stationed in Afghanistan.
“It is not the US responsibility to police the world otherwise the US will be involved in endless wars, you may not care about American troops dying to police the world but the rest of us do care about American troops,” a commenter wrote.
“This is a difficult issue to address. Is it our job to police the world?” another asked.
Other critics opted to bombard the CNN piece with memes.
Some 3,500 US troops and another 7,000 or so NATO troops are currently in Afghanistan. They were supposed to leave by May 1 under the Doha Agreement struck between the US and the Taliban last year. The US’ likely failure to depart on time has already prompted the Taliban to threaten retaliation for violation of the agreement.