Biden Bungles Afghanistan
A U.S. president facilitates the return of a global terrorist sanctuary.
Afghanistan has become the playground of global Islamist terrorists once again, less than one month before the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America’s homeland.
The Taliban and their friends from al Qaeda and ISIS will be marching in the streets to celebrate, while we at home we will be mourning the lost lives the terrorists took on 9/11. We will also be mourning the fact that we are right back where we started twenty years ago. That’s when the Taliban was previously in charge of Afghanistan and provided al Qaeda a sanctuary from which to plan and launch its global terrorist jihad.
Back in July, President Joe Biden assured us that “the likelihood there’s going to be the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely."
"Unlikely" became reality when the Islamic jihadists overran Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, on August 15th. The Taliban met virtually no resistance. Afghanistan’s president fled the country.
In short, the Taliban have overrun everything, and they now own Afghanistan. And Biden is responsible for the rapid collapse of Afghanistan that made the Taliban’s rampage possible. The Taliban’s Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has risen again to become a magnet for Islamic terrorists from all over the world.
Biden tried to put as best a spin as he could on the Afghanistan debacle in remarks that he delivered to the American people Monday afternoon. ”I stand squarely by my decision,” Biden said, while admitting that events unfolded more quickly than his administration had anticipated.
Biden said that the buck stops with him, but he refused to accept any responsibility for the disastrous implementation of his decision to quickly withdraw completely from Afghanistan. Biden blamed the Afghan armed forces for lacking the will to fight for their country. He also blamed former President Donald Trump for handing him an agreement with the Taliban to withdraw U.S. forces that Biden claimed he could not break without having to send many thousands more U.S. troops back to Afghanistan for a “third decade” of war.
Biden’s excuses are a lame attempt to cover up his own catastrophic failures. This humiliating debacle that has gravely undermined the credibility of the United States is President Biden’s doing.
Trying to blame the mess on Donald Trump won’t cut it. It is true that the former president had negotiated the outlines of a peace deal with the Taliban and originally planned to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by May 1, 2021. But instead of just delaying the complete withdrawal by a few months and then moving full steam ahead with the withdrawal, Biden could have reversed Trump’s withdrawal decision altogether once he took office.
The choice was not between Biden’s disorderly cut-and-run versus recommitting many thousands of U.S. troops to continue fighting the Taliban. The Biden administration could have kept a limited number of special force operatives and air power resources in Afghanistan to make sure that Afghanistan would not reemerge as a safe haven for al Qaeda and ISIS. It was up to the Afghan military that we trained and equipped to protect the Afghan people from the Taliban insurgency. Nation-building is not a U.S. national security priority. But making sure that Afghanistan cannot be used as a global terrorist stronghold from which al Qaeda and ISIS can plan and carry out terrorist attacks against American citizens remains a vital national security interest.
It’s not like Biden had a problem reversing other Trump policies – even those that were working well. In addition to reversing Trump’s successful immigration restrictions, Biden promptly reversed Trump’s withdrawal from the jobs-killing Paris climate agreement. He is also in the process of reversing Trump’s withdrawal from the disastrous nuclear deal with Iran. The one withdrawal decision that Biden decided to carry over from his predecessor was removing the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. And Biden did so in such a precipitous manner that he was forced to send back thousands of U.S. troops to aid in the secure evacuation of the remaining U.S. diplomatic personnel. Left behind is an enormous trove of U.S. equipment supplied to the Afghan military that is now in the Taliban’s hands.
The U.S. military had quickly defeated the Taliban in late 2001, but then became mired down for years in fruitless nation-building. Americans became understandably weary of what seemed like an endless war, and there was broad consensus to wind down our presence in Afghanistan. However, the American people had a right to assume that the wind-down and ultimate complete withdrawal would be done carefully to avoid opening ourselves up to another 9/11 or worse.
Instead, with no careful advanced planning, the U.S. military is rushing to evacuate as many Americans as possible, while al Qaeda and ISIS jihadists are let out of prison to roam the country. Biden has failed his first major test as America’s commander-in-chief. In a complete dereliction of duty, he retreated to Camp David to hide while Kabul fell.
The handwriting was on the wall when the U.S. military abandoned Afghanistan’s Bagram Airfield during the dead of night earlier this summer, leaving the base’s new Afghan commander clueless as to what happened. That was done under Biden’s watch, not Trump’s. Biden reportedly disregarded the counsel he received from his military advisers not to give up Bagram Airfield.
The United States had used this airbase as a center of operations to hunt down al Qaeda terrorists and help keep the Taliban at bay. The air base includes a prison that had housed several thousand terrorist prisoners, including members of al Qaeda and ISIS.
Without warning, the Biden administration decided to give up this counter-terrorism stronghold. The Taliban saw a major opening and seized the base on August 15th. Taliban, al Qaeda, and ISIS prisoners were released, instantly adding to the jihadist terrorists' forces. The next day Kabul fell to the Taliban.
The image of panicked Afghans running alongside moving U.S. military cargo planes at the Kabul airport, clinging on to the plane’s side, is eerily reminiscent of the abandonment of Saigon in 1975. In fact, in some ways it’s even worse. According to The Daily Mail, “Three stowaways fell hundreds of feet to their deaths from a military jet and at least five others have been killed at Kabul airport as thousands of desperate Afghans try to flee the Taliban by clambering on to rescue flights in increasingly chaotic scenes in the capital.”
Many people have expressed shock at the developing humanitarian crisis as the Taliban impose their fundamentalist Islamic law on the Afghan people. Hundreds of thousands of Afghans have fled from their homes. Targeted killings are reportedly already taking place. All the progress that women and girls have made in securing some protections of their human rights is out the window.
At an emergency United Nations Security Council meeting held on August 16th to discuss the Afghan crisis, Secretary General Antonio Guterres appealed to the Taliban “to respect and protect international humanitarian law and the rights and freedoms of all persons.” That will not happen until hell freezes over.
Guterres also declared that “the international community must unite to make sure that Afghanistan is never again used as a platform or safe haven for terrorist organizations.” Too late. Biden has squandered whatever the U.S. and its NATO allies had previously managed to accomplish in this regard during the last two decades.
In her remarks to the Security Council, the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, expressed similar pie-in-the-sky sentiments. She said that “the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Afghan citizens – especially women, girls, and members of minority groups – must be respected. We also call on all parties to prevent terrorism, and we must all ensure Afghanistan cannot ever, ever again be a base for terrorism.”
For its part, the Chinese Communist regime appears all too happy to make nice with the Taliban in order to ensure that the Taliban will not give the Uyghurs from the Xinjiang region of China sanctuary in nearby Afghanistan. China hosted a high-level meeting with Taliban representatives last month, including the Taliban’s co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.
Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Monday, following the Taliban’s military victory, that China “respects the wishes and choices of the Afghan people” – as if taking over a duly constituted government by force represents the wishes of the Afghan people.
China is also using the U.S.’s chaotic withdrawal as propaganda fodder to convince Taiwan and Hong Kong activists that they could not count on the United States to support them.
As usual, China is playing chess while Biden is playing beginners’ checkers.
The headline for the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and for President Biden’s legacy will be the fall of Afghanistan on Biden’s watch to the Taliban Islamic jihadists.