The recent scenes at Kabul International Airport are heartbreaking. Thousands of Afghans, trying to flee the grip of the Taliban, have swamped the airport hoping to catch a flight out. Some very desperate Afghans even tried hanging on to a U.S. Air Force C-17 as it was taking off. Regrettably, a few Afghans dangling from the bottom of the plane eventually fell to their deaths.
The Taliban was ousted from power two decades ago for not handing over Osama bin Laden after the 9/11 attacks. Until last week, the Taliban was a decentralized, and often localized, insurgency. While they could control dozens of rural districts across the country, the Taliban was unable to capture and hold even a single provincial capital in almost 20 years. Now, the group controls the whole country.
Nobody claims that before the takeover by the Taliban this week that Afghanistan was perfect. But even with all its flaws and challenges, the Taliban was never even close to taking over the country.
When President Joe Biden entered the White House, the U.S. military footprint in Afghanistan was nothing like it was in 2001, when the U.S. invaded and ousted the Taliban. Nor was it like 2009, when President Barack Obama increased the number to more than 100,000 troops.
Instead, Biden inherited a contingent of about 2,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan—the majority of whom are training and mentoring the Afghan military.
The remainder were conducting counter-terrorism missions, removing threats before they could mature to harm the U.S. and our interests. The U.S. mission in Afghanistan closely resembled the type of “train and advise” missions that America conducts in numerous countries around the world, like Somalia or the Philippines.
The reason why the American public viewed the mission in Afghanistan differently, however, comes down to the “end the forever wars” rhetoric that was started with President Donald Trump and continued with Biden. Considering that we now know that the alternative to keeping this small mission in Afghanistan is full Taliban control, it is clearer than ever that maintaining 2,500 troops was a reasonable and responsible approach.
While these troops were not enough to ensure total victory for the Afghans, they were enough to keep the Taliban out of power.
Nobody can argue that it is in America’s interest to have the Taliban back in power in Afghanistan—but through a mixture of incompetence, stubbornness, and aloofness, this is exactly what Biden has done. It is a sad geo-political irony that the Taliban will actually control more of Afghanistan on Sept. 11, 2021 than it did on Sept. 11, 2001.
Not only does the Taliban now control the country, they also have billions of dollars in U.S. military equipment and supplies at their disposal. A total fiasco.
No reasonable person can claim that this outcome is preferable to maintaining a few thousand troops and contractors, with very low risk of casualties and relatively low financial costs, in order to keep the Taliban out and terrorist heads down. This is the policy that Biden could have pursued. He did not.
America lost. The Taliban has won. The Afghan people will suffer. Many will die.
Some people are reasonably asking why the Afghan military refused to fight. Afterall, the Afghan military has fought gallantly in the past and suffered tens of thousands of their soldiers killed in action. But the sudden withdraw of all U.S. forces from the country was a devastating blow to their morale. In particular, the way the U.S. snuck out of Bagram Air Field in the middle of the night without telling their Afghan partners was shameful.
The withdraw of all U.S. troops was also accompanied by the removal of all the key enablers that supported the Afghan military, such as close air support, logistics, and maintenance and intelligence, and all the associated U.S. contract personnel. This was the final blow to the Afghan army.
With Americans gone, many Afghans flipped sides to the Taliban for reasons of survival. Allegiances between local Afghan tribes and warlords changed according to the direction in which the tide of success is seen to be flowing at the time. This is the peculiar Afghan way of warfare in what is a deeply tribal society. However difficult it might be for Americans sitting thousands of miles away to understand, this is the reality.
Most of my adult and professional life has had a connection to Afghanistan. As a junior U.S. Army officer, I served in Afghanistan for one year, 2005. When I worked for the British Conservative Party, and later as a top aide to the British Defense Secretary, I worked on Afghan policy issues from a British point of view and made regular visits to the country. I have lost friends, colleagues, and classmates there.
I love Afghanistan: its people, its history, its food, and its very complex and different cultures. Like many veterans of the Afghan war, I have watched Biden’s abandonment of Afghanistan in a state of shock and disbelief.
But this personal and emotional attachment to Afghanistan is not why I am most saddened and disappointed by Biden’s actions. Instead, it is knowing that we are less safe as a nation, and that this whole debacle was so easily avoidable, that gets to me most.
There is one person responsible for the horrific scenes coming out of Afghanistan today: President Joe Biden. He had the power to maintain the meagre number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
The fall of Kabul, and the hasty, messy, and chaotic evacuation of the American embassy, is a stain on America’s honor and prestige. The Russians, Iranians, and Chinese are gloating. Our security partners are watching and wondering. Islamists groups around the world will be emboldened like never before.
It is impossible to understand fully what the consequences will be for America, the region, and the world.
It is a dark day for America.
Image and article cross-posted from Daily Signal.
The Dangers of Speaking the Truth Diminish If We Work Together
It’s becoming harder and harder for patriots to ignore the deep suppression of truth that’s happening in America today.
In all of my years in journalism, I have never received as many threats or been attacked by big companies like Google and Facebook as I have in 2021. I’d say that ever since we started covering widespread voter fraud, government-endorsed Pandemic Panic Theater, vaccine cover-ups, Critical Race Theory, and the various Neo-Marxist and Satanic agendas at play, I’ve been targeted more in months than the entirety of my life prior.
Speaking the truth is getting harder with so much censorship and suppression rampant. Prior to 2020, I was not a “conspiracy theorist” or an “anti-vaxxer,” but if there’s one thing the onslaught of exposed lies have taught us in the last 18 months, it’s that we cannot take what we’re told by the “arbiters of truth” at face value. There’s an agenda behind every message, a narrative driving every story, and a series of gigantic cover-ups designed to keep the masses in the dark.
This is why we’re building a network of news outlets that are willing to go against the narrative and expose the truth. We need help. We’re establishing strong partnerships with like-minded news outlets and courageous journalists. Even as Big Tech suppresses us, the honest messages they’re trying to quash are finding their way to the eyes and ears of patriots across the nation. With the help of new content partners like The Epoch Times and The Liberty Daily, we’re starting to see a real impact.
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