There are multiple levels of duplicity, incompetence, and betrayal here.
Biden’s people seem to have lied to everybody which set the stage for this disaster. The execution of the withdrawal was mishandled in about as many ways as possible. There are so many unforced errors here and so much broken trust that it makes previous disasters in China and Vietnam seem almost rational by comparison.
The British are the angriest at the situation and, apparently, they have every right to be.
Joe Biden told key allies in June that he would maintain enough of a security presence in Afghanistan to ensure they could continue to operate in the capital following the main U.S. withdrawal, a vow made before the Taliban’s rapid final push across the country, according to a British diplomatic memo seen by Bloomberg.
Biden promised U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other leaders at the Group of Seven summit in Cornwall, England, that “critical U.S. enablers” would remain in place to keep Kabul safe following the drawdown of NATO forces, the note said. British officials determined the U.S. would provide enough personnel to ensure that the U.K. embassy in Kabul could continue operating.
Biden left some 600 military personnel in place. Would that have been enough even without an immediate collapse?
But either way, Biden was offering a security guarantee to the British against their pullout. Now his people are telling the Brits not to rescue their own people because it makes the Biden administration look bad.
I understand that the commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division has told the commander of the British special forces at the Kabul airport to cease operations beyond the airport perimeter.
Maj. Gen. Christopher Donahue has told his British Army counterpart, a high-ranking field-grade officer of the British army’s 22nd Special Air Service Regiment, that British operations were embarrassing the United States military in the absence of similar U.S. military operations, according to multiple military sources. I understand that the British officer firmly rejected the request.
Col. Joe Buccino, a spokesman for the XVIII Airborne Corps, denied that Donahue made such a request.
“The XVIII Airborne Corps denies the central thrust of this story,” the spokesman said. “Specifically, Gen. Chris Donahue, whose sole focus is security at HKIA, never made such a request to any British Army officials and would have no motive for doing so.”
Remember this promise from a few days ago that Taliban interference with rescue operations would be “met with overwhelming force”.
General McKenzie said any attempts by the Taliban to interfere with rescue operations ‘will be met with overwhelming force.’
Overwhelming force thus far means no force and a refusal to even venture forth. Things have gotten so bad that the U.S. Embassy is telling Americans not to go to the airport.