Biden’s people initially refused to promise to stay in Afghanistan for as long as it would take to get all of the Americans out.
Then, under pressure, Biden assured the country that the troops would remain until all of the Americans had been evacuated.
The Taliban however are warning that they won’t accept any extension of the American presence after August 31.
“You can say it’s a red line,” Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told Sky News in an interview Monday.
“If the US or UK were to seek additional time to continue evacuations — the answer is no,” Shaheen told Sky News. “Or there would be consequences.”
The Taliban are less likely to engage in an outright military assault. It would be a bloodbath, largely because Biden destroyed America’s strategic position with Fort Apache as the Kabul airport, but would force even Biden to retaliate and stay in Afghanistan.
Al Qaeda and ISIS may want that, but the Taliban don’t.
But the Taliban have a variety of other options including totally cutting off access to the airport and betting that Biden won’t use force to break the siege.
The backdoor negotiations between Biden and the Taliban probably included the Jihadists keeping Al Qaeda, ISIS, and other foreign fighters from launching attacks on Americans.
(What Biden’s giving the Taliban in exchange for that is the $64,000 question and it’s probably a lot more valuable than a mere $64,000.)
The Taliban can go on playing good cop – bad cop and warn that they’ll no longer be able to restrain the terrorists. Considering the latest shootout at the airport, it’s quite possible that even that bit of leverage is collapsing.
What the Taliban want is…
1. To extract maximum concessions from Biden
2. To humiliate America
They’re getting plenty of the latter in. In an honor-shame culture, they’ve managed to count coup by having the White House come to them hat in hand, by beating Americans and those we claimed we could protect in the street, and controlling our evacuation.
The Taliban would like us gone from the airport, but they would be happy to go on trading the lives of any Afghans with visas in exchange for cash. And that is the deal we are likely to end up with if the Biden brain trust continues performing the way that it has.
The vast majority of Americans will be evacuated either by the deadline or with an extension (for which Biden will pay the Taliban) and then Biden will keep on paying ransom money for every SIV visa holder once the United States leaves.