The Ongoing Crisis in Afghanistan
Written by Elissar Zabaneh
On August 15, the Afghan military and government fell to the Taliban as insurgent forces entered the capital Kabul after seizing power across the country in just over a week.
The capital was the last major government stronghold. As the Taliban insurgents entered the city, U.S. personnel and Afghan citizens descended on the airport to leave the nation. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled to Tajikistan that Sunday. Former President Donald Trump called on President Biden to "resign in disgrace" over his handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal and other issues.
"It is time for Joe Biden to resign in disgrace for what he has allowed to happen to Afghanistan, along with the tremendous surge in COVID, the Border catastrophe, the destruction of energy independence, and our crippled economy," the former president wrote in a statement. The Taliban have rapidly taken control of most of the country as insurgent forces enter the capital city of Kabul, where U.S. troops have been sent to evacuate the embassy. Joe Biden's Afghanistan debacle shows us how much damage one president can do, but it doesn't stop there.
The lack of rue from the president or anyone in his administration leads to the alarming conclusion that they haven't learned anything. They fail to show humility in the face of their own mistakes, so they are definitely going to repeat them. Representative Kevin McCarthy, accused President Biden of turning his back on Americans after he insisted the evacuation of Afghanistan will be completed by the end of the month even as allies have called on him to extend the mission to ensure that nobody will be left behind.
"Less than 24 hours ago, President Biden made the decision not to shift the August 31 deadline to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, even though some of our strongest allies – France and Britain and Germany requested it," McCarthy said, adding that U.S.' allies went to Afghanistan 20 years ago because of the 9/11 attacks.
He noted that Biden's announcement on Tuesday was delayed by hours, and when the president did speak, he touted the "$5 trillion liberal wishlist" budget blueprint and infrastructure plan approved by the House.
"The most embarrassing part, though, was that he refused to take questions, and he turned his back and walked away — an image that has come to define him and his presidency," McCarthy said at a press briefing Wednesday. McCarthy also described Biden's handling of Afghanistan as "one of the greatest tragedies this country has ever seen on a foreign policy level."
In his inaugural address, Joe Biden pledged, "We will repair our alliances and engage with the world once again." On February 4, he announced, "America is back. Diplomacy is back at the centre of our foreign policy."
Robert Gates, who served as defence secretary for the Obama administration, once spoke of Biden's capability of mucking up foreign policy, "I think he's been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades."
Biden's failures to communicate with the U.K. trickled down to the U.S. military. As Steve Swinford reported in London's The Times newspaper, "Senior [British] military commanders have also not been party to key discussions between the U.S. and the Taliban, so were left in the dark about when they could be forced to pull out."
There are no words that exist in the vastness of the English language that can convey the absolute nature of the gravity of this entire fiasco. This isn't a statement to say, "oh, this is really, really, really bad," because if truth be told, it's… ineffable. While the response can be described as: pathetic, abysmal, a perfect display of incompetence, a national embarrassment, straight up amoral, nefarious or dishonourable, ineffable is probably more suitable.
According to Politico, following the Taliban takeover of Kabul, U.S. officials there gave the Islamic extremist group the names of American citizens, green card holders and Afghan allies so they could be allowed to enter the Taliban-controlled perimeter around Hamid Karzai International Airport.
The decision was made despite the Taliban's obvious reputation for brutally executing Afghans who helped the U.S. military and other Western forces during the war and occupation that followed the September 11 attacks.
"Basically, they just put all those Afghans on a kill list," a U.S. defence official told Politico. "It's just appalling and shocking and makes you feel unclean."
During a news conference about Thursday's deadly terror attack at the Kabul airport, Biden acknowledged unspecified "occasions" on which the U.S. military had contacted the Taliban to say, "for example, 'This bus is coming through with X number of people on it, made up of the following people.'"
"And to the best of my knowledge, in those cases, the bulk of that has occurred. They've been let through," he said.
"But I can't tell you with any certitude that there's actually been a list of names. There may have been, but I know of no circumstance."
Biden added: "That doesn't mean it's not — it didn't exist. That, 'Here's the names of 12 people. They're coming. Let them through.' It could very well have happened."
The shocking revelation came just days after it was revealed that Taliban death squads have been going "door to door" to hunt down suspected Afghan "collaborators," with tens of thousands of American allies potentially at risk.
Vice President Kamala Harris is also under fire for laughing when asked about the deadly chaos in Afghanistan — before Singapore's prime minister pointed out during a press conference with Harris that the Biden administration's exit plan went "awry."
The Vice President, who is already heavily criticised for her delay in addressing the disaster that started after the U.S. pulled out despite the Taliban's resurgence, was already grinning widely when she approached reporters Friday.
A reporter attempted to ask about her "response on Americans", — but the V.P. cut her off before she could finish.
"Hold on, hold on — slow down, everybody!" Harris said before letting out her now-notorious cackle, shaking her shoulders as she chuckled.
The V.P. finally controlled herself to insist that the Biden administration "couldn't have a higher priority right now" than Afghanistan.
Harris, who was previously criticised for similar reactions at seemingly inappropriate moments, spoke as she was heading overseas (but not to Afghanistan).
Instead, she travelled to Asia for stops in Singapore and Vietnam. Ironically, the sites of previous U.S. and U.K. military humiliations.
"Apparently, she thinks it's a laughing matter," one person tweeted as the footage of her cackle was spread on social media.