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 - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.09.2021
Afghanistan
The future appears uncertain for Afghanistan following its takeover by the Taliban as US-led forces withdrew from the country after 20 years of occupation. As other nations continue to evacuate their citizens, the Central Asian country has been struck by political and humanitarian crises.

Pentagon Chief Concerned Over Americans' Declining Trust in US Military Under Biden

© AFP 2022 / JOHN MOOREFORT DRUM, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 08: U.S. Army soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division arrive from a 9-month deployment in Afghanistan on December 08, 2020 in Fort Drum, New York.
FORT DRUM, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 08: U.S. Army soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division arrive from a 9-month deployment in Afghanistan on December 08, 2020 in Fort Drum, New York. - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.12.2021
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A new survey conducted by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute has revealed that 45 percent of respondents have a "great deal of confidence" in the military, while 33 percent stated that they have "some confidence". Experts blame the declining ratings to the botched troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.
US Defence Secretary Lloyd J Austin has said that he is concerned about Americans' waning trust in the military, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby stated on Monday.
According to Kirby, Austin saw the survey findings on Saturday when he was visiting the Reagan National Defence Forum.

"He obviously took it seriously when he had a chance to at least look at it briefly", he further said.

Kirby further said that Austin "wants to spend a little bit more time and try to see if there's some wisdom he can glean from the survey".
The Pentagon official said that even though the present approval ratings were "good numbers", they represented a 25 percent drop compared to when the survey was first conducted in 2018.
A similar survey held in March of this year, before the Taliban* took over Kabul, claimed that Americans’ trust in the military had dropped by 14 percentage points since 2018. The new findings represent a further 11 percent drop.
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson holds a news conference in London - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.09.2021
Afghanistan
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Kirby said that the perception among Americans of the US military, which he described as an "all-volunteer force" is important for the institution.

"…The American public's perceptions of the United States military matters to us, not just from a recruiting perspective, although that's valid, but also from a representational perspective", said Kirby.

While he refused to go into the reasons behind the declining ratings, the Pentagon official did admit that the institution of the military wasn't "immune from the polarisation occurring in the country writ large".
Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), who attended a panel discussion at the Reagan National Defence Forum last week, said that America's "credibility" had been "jeopardised" by the troop withdrawal operations in Afghanistan.
The senator further warned that the nation's allies and partners would stop looking to the US as a "partner of choice", if the survey findings were to translate to US perception among other nations.
She also claimed that she was "pulled aside" by "many of our traditional allies and partners" and asked about the Afghanistan withdrawal at the Halifax Security Forum last month.
U.S. President Joe Biden meets virtually with governors, mayors, and other state and local elected officials to discuss the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, in the South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington, U.S., August 11, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.08.2021
Trump Urges Biden to 'Resign in Disgrace' as Taliban Declare 'End to War' in Afghanistan
The Taliban's swift military advance in Afghanistan since the signing of the Doha Deal with the Trump administration and its subsequent takeover of Kabul on 15 August 2021 has triggered widespread global as well as domestic criticism against the Biden administration.
Former President Donald Trump even asked for Biden to "resign in disgrace" and said that the US has "never been [as] humiliated" as much as during the troop withdrawal process under Biden.

"We ran out of Afghanistan instead of following the plan our administration left for him —a plan that protected our people and our property, and ensured the Taliban would never dream of taking our embassy or providing a base for new attacks against America", Trump said in a statement on 17 August, two days after the Afghan capital fell to the Taliban.

*The Taliban is an organisation under UN sanctions for terrorist activities.
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