Washington, D.C. — I suppose the situation that erupted regarding the safe evacuation of Americans from Afghanistan might have been a lot less chaotic. Putting it mildly. In a detailed piece in The Washington Post on Sunday, the Post describes how the Taliban raced toward retaking Kabul.
The Afghan government was totally aloof, with everyone in the Biden orbit was on vacation when the calamity hit. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani dithered on getting his act together, more concerned about the digitization of the economy than the Taliban threat. There are reports that he agreed to step aside days before the Taliban captured Kabul. As a result of his departure (he fled), the US assumed he would be assisting the Taliban-led transitional government.
In the chaotic aftermath of the collapse of the government, security seemed to be a priority, but chaos was engulfing the city. Buried midway through the piece is the Taliban offering the US to take control of not just the airport but all of Kabul.
Read that again: The Taliban offered the US control of the city, and we turned them down. (via WaPo):
There was a breakdown of law and order, which led to armed gangs moving through the streets.
McKenzie, the commander of the United States Central Command, and other senior U.S. military leaders met in person in Doha. Central Command — spoke with Abdul Ghani Baradar, head of the Taliban’s political wing.
“We have a problem,” Baradar said, according to the U.S. official. “We have two options to deal with it: You [the United States military] take responsibility for securing Kabul or you have to allow us to do it.”
In response to the president’s withdrawal request, Biden remained steadfast in his position. He would not change his mind despite the collapse of the Afghan government.
MacKenzie informed Baradar that the mission was exclusively for evacuating citizens of the United States, as well as their Afghan allies. According to him, “the airport is necessary for the United States to do that.”
In the immediate aftermath of the meeting, government officials in the United States reached an agreement: The airport would be available to the United States until August 31. The city would remain under the Taliban’s control, however.
Wonderful; but it should be noted that if we had taken control of the city, as we were capable of doing, there would not have been Taliban checkpoints, making access difficult or impossible. The Taliban would not have beaten Americans. Americans would not have had their passports seized. The process of removing our citizens would have been a lot easier.
Terrorists handle security at Hamid Karzai Airport (now there’s a phrase I never would have thought to use) like the TSA (unlike that one). The US service members killed last week by the suicide bomber were mostly Marines. Additionally, civilians, who were among our most important Afghan allies, could have been evacuated more efficiently.
The Taliban lists of those approved at the checkpoints, which are essentially kill lists, wouldn’t have been handed to us. Of course, we handed just such a list right back to them, so this argument might be null and void. Sadly, this is just one of many disastrous decisions made by the Biden administration.
But hey, at least no more mean tweets, right?
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