AMAC Exclusive By: Shane Harris
However often Democrats and the mainstream media may parrot Biden’s claim that he was “only doing what President Trump would have done” in pulling out of Afghanistan, it doesn’t appear that many people are buying it. After the 45th President’s sterling record of success in the Middle East that included the historic Abraham Accords, the defeat of ISIS, and the successful elimination of numerous dangerous terrorist leaders, the common refrain heard around many dinner tables and coffee shops in the United States this week is “this never would’ve happened if Trump was still in office.”
The American people are right – the unmitigated disaster that has unfolded over the past several days would not have occurred had President Trump overseen the withdraw. The reason why is simple: the Taliban feared President Trump as they clearly do not fear Joe Biden. And for good reason.
During President Trump’s time in office, he engaged in a series of negotiations with the Taliban to orchestrate an orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan that was contingent on the Taliban adhering to certain conditions. But President Trump promised that if the Taliban were to violate those conditions, he would respond swiftly and decisively with deadly force.
On September 4, 2019, the Taliban exploded a car bomb in Kabul that killed more than 10 people, including an American service member. True to his word, President Trump ceased negotiations and responded by ordering a devastating aerial bombardment, making clear that the Taliban was not to cross the United States under Trump’s leadership.
Just days after the attack, at a speech outside the Pentagon commemorating the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, President Trump said that “they [the Taliban] thought they could use the attack to show strength, but actually what they showed is weakness,” adding that “the last four days we have hit our enemy harder than they have ever been hit before, and that will continue.”
The numbers support President Trump’s assertion. According to Air Force data, the United States unleashed 948 bombs and missiles on Afghanistan in September of 2019, far outpacing any other single month since at least 2013. The 948 figure represents a full 13% increase from the next highest monthly total of 841, which occurred in both September and October of 2018.
In fact, due in large part to the ferocity of the airstrikes in September of 2019, the United States dropped more pieces of ordinance on Afghanistan than any other year of the war, totaling 7,423. Even during the height of the war in 2010 and 2011, coalition aircraft only dropped 5,100 and 5,411 bombs and missiles, respectively.
The numbers show that President Trump was not afraid to follow through on his word. He established a credible deterrence through his use of force, placing the United States in a strong negotiating position when talks resumed. As a result, the United States did not see a single combat death in Afghanistan for 18 months.
Conversely, President Biden has not established any sort of credible deterrence. Biden did not outline any conditions for the United States’ withdraw and has shown zero evidence that he is willing to use force to keep the Taliban in line as did President Trump. As a result, the Taliban have responded as all bullies and thugs do, by seeing just how much they can get away with.
With President Trump in office, the Taliban knew they must adhere to the terms laid out by the United States, lest they risk a return of the withering destruction they faced in 2019. With President Biden, there appears to be no such threat. As a result, chaos reigns in the streets of Kabul, and the Taliban are resurgent in the region once again.