[Editor’s note: Make sure to read Robert Spencer’s contributions in Jamie Glazov’s new book: Barack Obama’s True Legacy: How He Transformed America.]
Two years later, people are still paying the price for the catastrophe of Old Joe Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. And people will be paying the price for decades to come.
The Associated Press reported on August 22 that “more than 200 extrajudicial killings of former Afghan government officials and security forces have taken place since the Taliban took over the country two years ago, according to a U.N. report.” These were people the Taliban had promised not to kill, but as Muhammad said, “War is deceit” (Bukhari 4.52.268). Nine days before that, the Daily Mail reported that “militants who left fingerprints on IEDs meant to kill Americans in Afghanistan and a prisoner freed by the Taliban were among more than 65 terrorists allowed into the United States after the catastrophic withdrawal.” What could possibly go wrong? Celebrate diversity!
Jihadis beyond Afghanistan, meanwhile, are benefiting from the $7.2 billion of military equipment the U.S. left behind for the Taliban. Nikkei Asia reported last March that “modern weapons and sophisticated night vision devices left behind by U.S.-led coalition forces withdrawing from Afghanistan and fleeing Afghan troops are being used by Pakistani Taliban militants to intensify attacks on law enforcement.” Jihadis in Kashmir have the best U.S. weaponry as well.
Emblematic of the mishandling of the entire withdrawal from Afghanistan was the fact that the Islamic State jihadist who murdered 13 American service members and numerous Afghans in a suicide bombing at the Kabul airport in August 2021 had just been released from prison at Bagram Air Base, the center of American operations in Afghanistan until the U.S. precipitously and irresponsibly abandoned it in July of the same year. U.S. snipers had him in their sights but were ordered not to shoot.
CNN reported that the bomber, Abdul Rehman Al-Loghri, was part of “ISIS-K,” that is, the Islamic State’s Khorasan group in central Asia, and that he had “been released from a prison near Kabul just days earlier when the Taliban took control of the area, according to three US officials.”
Al-Loghri had been held in the Parwan prison at Bagram Air Base, along with around 5,000 other prisoners, including several hundred members of ISIS, as well as Taliban and al-Qaeda jihadis. In July 2021, according to the Associated Press, “the U.S. left Afghanistan’s Bagram Airfield after nearly 20 years by shutting off the electricity and slipping away in the night without notifying the base’s new Afghan commander, who discovered the Americans’ departure more than two hours after they left.”
When the Taliban rolled into Kabul, they entered Bagram without encountering any significant opposition and opened the gates of the Parwan prison. Al-Loghri and many other jihadists walked free. Then on August 26, 2021, al-Loghri blew himself up at the Kabul airport, murdering eleven Marines, as well as one member of the Army and one of the Navy.
Contrary to Old Joe Biden’s claims that every contingency had been provided for, this was a catastrophe brought on by a lack of planning and foresight. In June 2021, General McKenzie gave an interview to Military Times in which he declared: “We have workable plans to evacuate any scale of people that we would be directed to do. That’s one of the things that we have done. I’ve talked to the secretary about it.” After the Biden regime spent nearly two years denying and evading responsibility for what happened, however, in June 2023 a review of the withdrawal was released that finally admitted, in a summary from The Hill, that “senior officials did not prepare for worst-case scenarios nor appreciate how quickly the situation could devolve; key leadership roles were not empowered with authority; and firmly held policy positions failed to take into account dissenting opinions.” What a surprise.
How many might have been saved if there had been even a modicum of strategic savvy, competence and patriotism among the commander-in-chief and his top military officers?
What were the high ranks of the military doing while they should have been preparing for a safe and successful withdrawal? In June 2021, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) questioned General Mark Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at a Congressional hearing about an ongoing effort to saddle U.S. military personnel with mandatory readings and briefings on the topic of Critical Race Theory (CRT). Milley situated his interest in CRT as part of an investigation of the causes of the bogus January 6 “insurrection,” taking for granted the false claim that the Capitol incident, and support for Trump in general, was rooted in “white supremacism”: “I want to understand white rage, and I’m white, and I want to understand it. So what is it that caused thousands of people to assault this building and try to overturn the Constitution of the United States of America? What caused that? I want to find that out.”
Milley and the rest of the woke military brass could have spent less time studying Critical Race Theory and imposing it on the troops as a way of weeding out Trump supporters from the ranks, and more time doing their actual jobs. Had they done so, they might have realized how foolish it was to steal away from Bagram in the dead of night. They could even have used the base as a rallying point for Americans in Afghanistan who wanted to leave the country, getting them out in a safe and orderly manner instead of the Saigon-on-steroids nightmare that a horrified world witnessed at Kabul airport in August 2021.
In a healthy, functioning republic, the political and military officials responsible for what happened in Afghanistan two years ago would have been impeached or forced to resign in disgrace. But the U.S. is no longer a healthy, functioning republic, and so instead, they are more entrenched than ever.