Government Watch / Politics

Biden Balks, Afghanistan Crumbling

Afghanistan

Shockingly naïve – or simply disingenuous, it really makes no difference. The US State Department is offering useless appeals to Afghan peace in the wake of a humanitarian crisis – led by Taliban violence – that they created. What a lesson in how not to conduct foreign policy.

To be clear, having set up the original US police training programs in seven Afghan locations, creating conditions for peace was always a steep climb. Minimal education, high poverty, corruption, drug and human trafficking, scant respect for life all made that mission hard.

But from the outset, that was the goal, however incremental our progress. Should the Afghan government have been brought in sooner?

Yes. Should the Taliban have been forced to the table faster, even if power-sharing is imperfect? Yes.

Was the US-NATO-Obama-Trump approach realistic – a peace accord, Taliban severing al Qaeda ties, power-sharing, civil order with provincial flare-ups, gradual troop drawdowns with Afghan security increasingly controlling the country? Hard to know.

Maybe not, but that “exit strategy” parallels successful hand-offs in other war-torn regions, leveraging peace with presence, reintegration of combatants not guilty of heinous crimes, reliance on new institutions to maintain rule of law, and then withdrawal. The Afghan endgame was never intended to be cut-and-run but graduated – with method, not madness.

Now, we are watching an unfolding human tragedy, women and children killed, provincial capitals falling, tightening ties between Taliban and al Qaeda, Army and police massacred, a desperate people who hoped on our promises – no backup.

The Biden promise of support for the Afghan people via a carrier battlegroup has proved empty, another fumbling fib. The Biden promise to leverage peace seems bad fiction, at best a self-deception to justify abandoning a people who have no options and who trusted us.

If the idea of peace talks – based on mission completion, issue resolution, support for the Afghan government – was imperfect, sure to face backsteps (as all transitions do), it was an endgame.

Abandonment, promoting the fake idea that peace is somehow still possible, as the Taliban overwhelms Afghan defenses, slaughters those who believed in the United States – is a disgrace.

Where this misguided decision leads is not good, to a return of terror in that nation – and as we remember the 20th anniversary of 9-11 – possibly wider terror projection. All they need is a base. Now, they again have one.

Facts tell the sad story better than analysis. Republicans and Democrats both know what is coming.

They know Afghanistan is gone, Pakistan and India confront fresh risks, Iran and China are beneficiaries, terrorism likely to reseed, then ricochet. Allies doubt US resolve.

Concretely, things are dissolving. Explosions continue around the country, including near the Defense Minister’s home on August 3. Taliban shooters are entering the homes of those in parliament. Fighting rages around Lashkar Gah (in southern Afghanistan), dozens of civilians killed.

Commandos and police are being executed, and cities abandoned. Women and girls are at huge risk, their educations also halted. Taliban now claims 85 percent control.

As this occurs, our President and Vice President are silent. Secretary of State Blinken pleads for an “Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process,” as if that plea has any chance of being heard. He says the US remains “engaged,” kindly asks the Taliban to the “negotiating table to resolve the conflict peacefully.” Really?

Perhaps we should just kindly ask China to stop militarizing the world and pushing ugly communism? Or Iran to set aside nuclear ambitions and terror practices? Russia to kindly back off Ukraine, all three please stop their cyberattacks. Of course, that is it – we need only ask.

More realistically, State announced on August 2 that they would attempt relocating Afghans who helped us, getting them out. While thousands may be saved, others will not be. The outlined process is time-consuming, and visa applicants must shelter in countries like Turkey – which says they will not “bear the burden.” Where was forethought?

Is this proactive diplomacy? World leadership? Promotion of peace and security? Is this how we create global trust and deterrence, protect allies, live up to promises, plan the future, demonstrate strength? As the Taliban continues war crimes and the 9-11 anniversary creeps forward, one is hard-pressed to see any of this in a positive light.

Looking back is painful, as opportunities for peace were lost. Looking forward is more painful. The saddest part is Republicans and Democrats, regional experts, seasoned diplomats, general officers, former high-ranking civilian leaders – all predicted this.

In short, this was an avoidable humanitarian, national and regional security crisis. The alternative was laboring mightily to achieve that elusive, hard-to-exact peace, not losing leverage but using it in this war-torn land for an impoverished, hopeful, now hopeless people.

What can be done now? Lessons can be learned, resolve, reasserted elsewhere, defenses hardened against what may grow. Allies can be consulted, refugees can be protected, and preparation made for the second-order effects of this misstep.

At this moment, terrorists swarm areas formerly controlled by US-trained troops and police; major cities continue to fall, China angles for ways to abscond with precious resources, 1,500 Russian and Uzbek troops drill on the Afghan border, another thousand head for Tajikistan, Pakistan, and India gird for what comes next, and Iran looks for advantage. See, e.g., Taliban Seize Afghan Provincial Capital Just Weeks Before Final U.S. Withdrawal; Afghan Air Force pilot killed in Kabul bombing, attack claimed by Taliban; Jaishankar discusses Afghanistan situation with Iran President; Iran Sets Its Eyes on Afghanistan; Taliban capture key Afghanistan border crossings; After the withdrawal: China’s interests in Afghanistan; China Offers the Taliban a Warm Welcome While Urging Peace Talks.

The truth is, we had an advantage, and we lost it; we had our finger in the dike and pulled it. The resulting images, ignominy, and avoidable tragedy for innocents – now belong to Biden.


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Dan
1 year ago

It is so sad, ???? this idiot is ignoring our crisis at the southern border which has been created by this idiot and the rest of the criminal Democratic Party. IF WE THE PEOPLE DONT ACT! OUR COUNTRY IS DONE FOR.

AjB
1 year ago

What do you expect from this dementia ridden idiot who’s never been right on anything in almost 50 years of political service? Besides, the Afghan people can’t possibly become democratic voters!!!

toprudder
1 year ago

Another part of the disaster goes all the way back to Iraq. We left Iraq without a residual forces agreement; now, we are doing the same thing in Afghanistan. If we had kept strategic bases there, we would have Iran caught between Iraq and Afghanistan. We could use these bases in the event that Iran finishes developing a nuclear weapon and then uses it on Israel or some other target of their choosing. But, we have given away both. Terrible strategic mistake.

Ron Howard
1 year ago
Reply to  toprudder

I felt it obvious that if we left Afghanistan the Taliban would soon regain all of their losses and take over the country, and making the lives lost in the battles there meaningless, the one issue I disagree with Trump on. It would be great to be isolationists and ignore what goes on in other countries of the world, but in doing so you allow the growth insurgency in those countries to the eventually threaten our American freedom. I relate it to living in the forest and clearing the brush around your house and property to prevent their burning during a fire. Small peacekeeping forces around the world help prevent major world wars.

AjB
1 year ago
Reply to  Ron Howard

We don’t need to worry about being attacked from outside our borders, we’ve got the democrats destroying the country from within!!!

RC100
1 year ago

As Obama has been quoted as saying, “Don’t underestimate Biden’s ability to f**k things up.” Don’t say we weren’t warned. However, I doubt that any Democrat president would have done things differently, at least not from the list of candidates with the possible exception of Tulsi Gabbard.

B4&After
1 year ago

It is hard to have an objective, informed opinion on Afghanistan. It is impossible to know what the truth is. Or, what a Taliban owned Afghanistan will look like and how detrimental that will be to the USA and the world.

Here is one thought. The Taliban has been pretty much laying low for quite some time. Now, they have been emboldened to show themselves out in the open. I am wondering if this might be an advantageous opportunity to go back in and cripple this terrorist organization that we have never had before.

Anathema to many, I understand. But we may be losing more by leaving this nation that we would by going back in, at this point.

edgar fletcher
1 year ago

Another American failure.This one puts a great deal of egg on our face. We aren’t even out of the country yet and the Taliban is taking over rapidly. We are a joke, thank you Biden. No ther countries will trust us for anything.

Ron Howard
1 year ago
Reply to  edgar fletcher

I guess I am confused here. While I am a huge supporter of Donald Trump, and hate Joe Biden with a passion, I am pretty sure that it was President Donald Trump who signed the agreement with the Taliban and chose to leave Afghanistan. I would like to blame Biden for all he has done wrong, but what was it that Biden had to do with the Afghanistan issue?

Art
1 year ago

Many balls in play here. I hope that my memories are correct. Did the United States have a hand in helping the Mujahideen push out the Russians? Enter the Taliban. Now we and other of our allies are back. Osama Bin Laden and other sad things happened. People died. Again.
We reinstated womens’ rights. The women were free. We built schools. We built clean water systems. We tried to build a shared power political system. We almost financed an entire rebuild of Kabul.
The Afghans are TRIBAL. Some tribes helped the coalition and some did not. We allowed them to grow their poppy fields just outside of our military installations. It was a great trade off. Most cases were of mutual benefit.
THE BOTTOM LINE IS THAT WE HAVE NOT DONE A GOOD JOB OF THE UNITED STATES AND OTHERS ABANDONING THESE PEOPLE. THE REST IS SAD. THE BULK OF THE AFGHANI LIVES WILL NOT CHANGE. THEY WILL HERD THEIR GOATS AND GROW POPPIES FOR DOPE.
THE WOMEN WILL SUFFER AND SO WILL THOSE WHO HELPED THE COALITION. SURVIVAL WILL ONLY BE FOR THE AFGHANI PEOPLE TO PAY TRIBUTE TO THE TALIBAN.
SHAME ON US FOR BAD POLITICAL JUDGEMENT AGAIN.

Max
1 year ago
Reply to  Art

Nobody ever learns from past history. The region has always been troubled but the reigning empires of the times, step in to place their influence upon the region and come out with egg on the face or their tail between their legs: the British, the Russians and the USA.

Kyle Buy you some guns,and learn how to shoot
1 year ago

WE should never have been there ,in the first place. Get out,and stay out. And all those other country’s.

par
1 year ago

At the least Vietnam is a thriving economical and commercial area as freedom ring. Along with a fine tourist area. With Afghanistan, the lost lives and time spent a for nothing with this administration is pathetic. They have little respect for lives, except theirs.

D.P.
1 year ago

WE like many others before us, have been dealing with a culture that is stuck int he 7th century. Tribalism is the center of it all. We have, as a nation, stepped into the mess, paid the heavy price in blood and treasure, and will reap the benefits of stupidity and absurd presumption that these people have a clue about being a democracy. The best the world can do is confine them as much as possible, let them beat each other up, limit their support financially, boycott their economies, and only respond in kind….if they attack us, we slam them as hard as possible. The outcry over civilian deaths and the like ought not be the foundation for our decisions, knowing the leaders of the likes of the Talaban care little for their own people even if we were not in the mix………this is a matter of life or death….for all the other cultures who do not walk the line of the Islamic perspective. Given time, and the weak responses promoted in the past, these people will gain weapons of devastation, power from money we supply by our lack of self-reliance on natural resources, and the political enemies who are willing to use them against us (ie. China). With an administration that has no guts, no direction, no foreign savvy, the disaster will fall on us as surely as those planes fell from the sky on 9/11….only an idiot would expect a different outcome. And for me, we have plenty of idiots on board who will continue to fail the nation. Hide and watch!

Wanda
1 year ago

Just like Viet Nam….we should have never been there in the first place. The middle east has been killing each other since the 1600’s and who thought they could change that? The third worst president ever…..George Bush a NWO person. I will always believe he was involved in 9/11 because after that the government over reach into our every day lives exploded….all under the guise of “keeping us safe” the only thing that can keep us safe is We the People because our government from the top down is totally corrupt and needs replacing.

par
1 year ago
Reply to  Wanda

Partially agree about Vietnam, except Vietnam is now an economical and cultural thriving area, besides tourism. Afghanistan is going no wheres.

PaulE
1 year ago

RBC,

What I find so fascinating is that no one seems to address the obvious elephant in the room. The vast majority of the people of Afghanistan have been stuck in the 7th century mentality of Mohammed for centuries and seem completely content to remain so. That is in spite of our spending 20 years trying to literally try and drag them into some semblance of the 21st century. Yes, some of the younger population desires a better life than what strict fundamentalist Islam of the 7th century offers, but they seem to be few and far between.

In order for the kind of desired outcome you write about to be both possible and sustainable, the vast majority of the people of the Afghanistan have to both want it and be willing to fight to maintain it. We certainly left them with all the means and superior firepower to do so, if they actually wanted to do so. Clearly from all reports coming out of that country, the vast majority of the people fail on both counts. The videos of Taliban now all riding around in brand new US trucks and carrying the latest weapons are what they obtained by the Afghan military literally dropping their weapons, abandoning their positions and running or walking away.

From all the reported instances of the the way the Afghan military has been laying down their weapons and vehicles at the first sign of the Taliban, sometimes without even a shot even being fired, it is clear most in the Afghan military is both unwilling and unable to defend the societal infrastructure we spent trillions of dollars and thousands of American lives to build for them. For the last 20 years, we accounted for everything but the actual desire of the Afghan people to want to shift from a backwards, feudal Islamic state to a modern society embracing modern cultural norms. In short, our attempt at nation building was a dismal failure, because our leaders failed to realize that you can only re-make a nation for the better, if the people of that country actually desire and want to embrace that change. Something so obvious, yet apparently completely unaccounted for. Otherwise, as soon as we leave, the country will quickly revert back to what it was before. Which is what we are seeing now. Afghan military units dropping their weapons or handing them over to the Taliban and the country reverting back to what it was prior to our presence there. At the rate the Afghan military is surrendering their weapons and territories still under their control, it should be about 4 to 6 weeks before Kabul itself falls to the Taliban and whatever allies we had in that government either flee or are put to death.

Oh and as to China, they seem to have already struck deals with local Taliban warlords to allow China to mine the vast rare earths and other minerals in Afghanistan. China doesn’t care what the Taliban does to its own people. So China is already taking advantage of the situation.

Last edited 1 year ago by PaulE
D.P.
1 year ago
Reply to  PaulE

Right on Paul……every nail squarely hit! I serve in Nam and lived through the failure of that situation. I have studied Islam from it’s history in the beginning and the core of that system of faith that is built on the sword alone. The heart of these followers is black. They have no problem killing even their own to propel the “will of Alla”. They are experts at double talk, back room operations and blood lust. Of all the religious groups that have come, Islam, stands alone as the most dangerous to any other form of faith practice. With their two main factions, warring for centuries, until one has wiped out the other, they will continue to ravage themselves and anyone who come into view. The mindset of Islam is “serve alla or die….” and they will do whatever it takes to fulfill that mandate. I would rather deal with devout communists/marxist than Islamic nations. Western civilization has been Islam’s enemy (after their own self hatred within) from the beginning, and they will not stop without being shut down if not destroyed. I know this sounds biased, even hateful, but the facts of history cannot be ignored…..they are a 7th century terror that can now access weapons and power they never had before…and rest assured, they will use them….. China will broker this to their advantage, and when they succeed, they will crush them to fulfill an agenda…..world power. America is the only barrier, and we have no will as a world influencer now.

Max
1 year ago
Reply to  D.P.

Once the Rapture takes place, Christianity will go underground for the time and unfortunately ISLAM will become the major world religion for the world to convert to or die by beheading. Read the Bible, GOD, JESUS and the saints win in the end.

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