We’re well past the leading from behind stage. Under Obama, we were leading from behind. Now we’re fumbling under a bench in the storage closet with a flashlight trying to find Joe Biden’s behind.
Here’s another measure of just how lost and pathetic our foreign policy is.
After Joe Biden’s botched retreat from Afghanistan, the members of the Afghan air force, (depending on their ethnicities, don’t let the special pleading media stories fool you, it was all about which ethnic group and family they belonged to) either turned over our aircraft to the Taliban or flew them to Uzbekistan, Tajikistan or Iran.
As the Taliban rolled into Kabul on 15 August 2021 on motorcycles and in stolen Humvees, they clearly did not fear the one thing that had kept them at bay for years: air strikes. US forces had withdrawn; even “over-the-horizon” US air support had ceased—and the Afghan Air Force (AAF), a crucial part of a security force that the United States had spent two decades and $90 billion building and supporting, was nowhere in evidence. In fact, nearly 25 percent of all Afghan military aircraft were hundreds of miles away in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Iran, where their AAF pilots fled to escape the Taliban.
Good thing we spent all that money, right? Now let’s provide more asylum to all the Afghan heroes who didn’t fight.
Now obviously we’re not getting back any of the aircraft from Iran. The Biden administration isn’t actually trying to get it back from anywhere, just hoping to trade it for… something.
The U.S. is negotiating with Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to trade nearly 50 military aircraft flown across the border as the Afghan government collapsed last summer for help hunting terrorists in Afghanistan, according to two people with knowledge of the talks.
The fate of the U.S.-donated aircraft has been in limbo for more than a year, after Afghan air force pilots flew them to Uzbekistan and Tajikistan last August to escape Taliban capture. The Taliban have insisted the aircraft — a mixture of light attack planes and helicopters — are Afghan property and demanded them back. But Uzbek authorities say they are the property of the United States and will not be returned.
Not that they’re actually releasing them. But Biden is proposing to trade the aircraft that they already have for a few tips about the terrorists.
Little has been said publicly about the issue, in part because of the sensitivity of Afghan-Uzbek relations and Russia’s economic and military influence in Central Asia. But behind the scenes, U.S. officials have been quietly working to use the aircraft as leverage to gain a foothold in a region where the U.S. military no longer has a presence on the ground, according to a senior Defense Department official and a congressional aide with direct knowledge of the negotiations, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive talks.
Good thing they decided to tell Politico about these “sensitive talks”. Not that the Russians don’t know about it anyway. And they’re not going to let us run a base in their backyard.
The Uzbeks have no particular reason to rely on us anyway because we’ve proven to be an erratic and unreliable partner. The Russians may be evil bastards, but they’re going to stick with their allies. Us? Not so much.
The U.S. is planning to conduct an assessment of the aircraft to see if they are flyable, the official said.
So the Biden administration didn’t even know if the aircraft the Afghans had were flyable. Magnificent.
But for now, it’s more likely the agreement would involve access to information the Uzbeks and Tajiks have about terrorist networks in Afghanistan.
You keep our aircraft and if you see Al Qaeda, drop a dime.
As Biden said, “America is back”. Back in the Obama dumpster.