The outcome was never in doubt. Its speed was another matter.
The Taliban fought few battles. The fake Afghan military surrendered or fled, taking our equipment to Iran and Uzbekistan in some cases.
The siege of Kabul that was being prepped never happened. There was little fighting if any.
The only viable military force that are not the Taliban are the approximately 6,000 American military personnel.
Biden boasted of withdrawing 1,900 troops. He’s sending back around 4,400 for a total of 6,000. That’s almost 3x the size of the withdrawal. More might end up having to be deployed.
The embassy and its flag have gotten out, but there are plenty of Americans still in Kabul.
While the Taliban, accompanied by their Al Jazeera propagandists, have done their victory dance at the presidential palace, they’ve avoided directly targeting Americans for now. They want us to leave and they don’t want to force us into a situation where even Biden or whoever is calling the shots while he takes Zoom calls in Camp David might have to do something about them.
That’s the only reason why this isn’t a complete disaster.
If the Taliban wanted to take American hostages, they have a plethora of options. And it’s not impossible that the Haqqani Network or any other ISIS/Al Qaeda elements might get around to it.
Among the various elements of Biden’s disaster in Afghanistan was his incredibly dumb decision to pull out the military for a photo-op before evacuating all the civilians.
It was the worst possible way to do things and if any American civilians are killed or taken hostage, that will be why.
Either way the withdrawal has turned into a rout with frantic crowds trying to escape. Our military, operating under difficult conditions, will do what it can. And it’s quite possible that the Taliban will even let a bunch of the SIVs leave the country along with assorted figures that they’re happy to be rid of. Their Pakistani/Qatari advisers have told them not to start their reign with public massacres. And for now they’re listening. How long that will last is anyone’s guess, but probably long enough to get a whole bunch of aid and possibly even UN status.
The media will shortly focus on blaming the whole thing on Trump before pivoting to some identity politics vaccine/mask outrage, but this is a public blow to the narrative that will not easily heal.