Charlotte, NC — Tens of thousands of Afghans will die and millions more will suffer in utter misery due to Biden’s misjudgment, which is rapidly increasing the threat to the US.
The Taliban’s seizure of control over Afghanistan will loom large over Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s visit with US President Joe Biden today, and its implications are dire.
Americans were stunned by footage of the Taliban taking over Kabul. There have been scenes of Afghans hanging from the side of a US military C-17 taxiing down the runway at the Kabul airport, hoping desperately for an entrance. And there have been reports of people being rounded up and shot. by Taliban gunmen provoked a bipartisan outcry against Biden and his withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan.
After Taliban forces seized control of one Afghan province after another, and it became clear that the capital Kabul would follow soon, Biden went on a two-week vacation. So Monday, Biden took a break.
He flew to the White House.
He gave a speech.
And he flew back to his vacation.
Thanks for making that sacrifice, Joe.
Upon being questioned concerning the disaster in Afghanistan, Biden’s irritation was undisguised. As a result of a deal he signed with the Taliban, Biden pointed the finger at his predecessor, Donald Trump. He also blamed the Afghan government and military (which collapsed following the US retreat). According to him, intelligence agencies in the United States failed to anticipate the swift force of the Taliban, who had been lying in wait for just the right opportunity. It should be noted that he WAS expecting the takeover-he just wasn’t expecting to be this rapid. So he knew that the Taliban would be in control of not only Kabul but also all of the equipment left behind.
As he was praising himself for having the gumption to remove US forces from the country: “I‘ve argued for many years that our mission [in Afghanistan] should be narrowly focused on counter terrorism, not counterinsurgency or nation building. That’s why I opposed the surge when it was proposed in 2009 when I was vice-president. And that’s why as president I’m adamant, we focus on the threats we face today in 2021, not yesterday’s threats.”
I am pretty sure that the parties he blamed were not responsible for the catastrophic blow the events in Afghanistan cast at US credibility-not only was the original withdrawal conditional (Taliban didn’t honor-go figure. There is little reason to believe that Trump would have implemented the troop pullout as written) but he had the opportunity to scrap the whole thing via Presidential Order. And I fail to see how his decision to remove US forces from the country made the US safer or better placed to “focus on the threats we face today in 2021.“
Moreover, Trump intended to evacuate civilians — both US citizens and Afghan nationals who worked with the Americans along with their families — before pulling out US military forces.
In the last two years of the Trump administration, the number of US troops in Afghanistan was reduced from 15,000 to 2,500 without creating panic or emboldening the Taliban.
In contrast, Biden removed the troops without notifying the Afghan government or military, which demoralized them. Neither he nor his advisors expressed concern about a Taliban takeover, so civilians at risk had few reasons to leave the country as quickly as possible.
In an interview with Israel Hayom, a former senior Trump administration official noted that unlike Biden, Trump was willing to listen to argument and adapt his positions to the situation on the ground.
“After Trump ordered the removal of all US forces from Syria in 2018, several people from both inside and outside the administration warned him that a full withdrawal would be dangerous. So he changed his plans. He withdrew most of the US forces but left a few hundred in key locations and gave them the wherewithal to secure US goals in the country,” the official said. By the same token Trump would likely have kept a residual force in Afghanistan.
Like a skeletal US presence in Syria sufficed to secure US interests in the country, the 2,500 non-combatant US forces withdrawn from Afghanistan worked with Afghan and NATO forces to keep the country stable and keep the Taliban at bay.
Unsurprisingly, Biden’s vilification of Trump required that he treated Trump’s deal with the Taliban as immutable. Yet, as Pompeo noted, just as Trump abandoned Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, Biden was free to walk away from Trump’s deal with the Taliban. Biden’s protestations regarding the deal were particularly ridiculous given that in his seven months in office, he has taken a cleaver to nearly all of Trump’s domestic and foreign policies. Biden didn’t remove US forces from Afghanistan because he had to keep Trump’s deal-he removed them because he wanted to.
As a result, we come to Biden’s devastating critique of the Afghan military, which he claimed was unwilling to defend the country. Over the past 20 years, 2,448 US servicemen and women were killed in Afghanistan. Over the same period, 69,000 Afghan forces died defending their country from the Taliban.
The US forces and contractors Biden removed were primarily responsible for serving as military air traffic controllers for Afghan forces. The Afghan military lost close air support with their departure. Like the US forces, the Afghan military was built as a mini-me of the US military, so it relied on close air support for operations on the ground.
Seriously, Biden is more responsible than anyone else for the Afghans’ post-American collapse. If he expected them to fight, he shouldn’t have left them dependent on US traffic controllers which he withdrew without coordination or warning of any kind.
It is entirely reasonable for Americans to demand the return of their forces from Afghanistan. Last Monday, Biden presented the American people with a choice between fighting a major war against the Taliban which would see untold numbers of servicemen killed, or bring the boys home in total defeat, as he opted to do. Of course, we are still going to end up in a major war.
And it is highly unlikely that any of our allies are going to be rushing to our aid, as they have all witnessed what the U.S. does to an ally when it loses interest.
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