“The Afghan troops have 300,000 well-equipped — as well-equipped as any army in the world — and an air force against something like 75,000 Taliban. It is not inevitable. … The Taliban is not … the North Vietnamese army. They’re not remotely comparable in terms of capability. There’s going to be no circumstance where you see people being lifted off the roof of an embassy in the — of the United States from Afghanistan. It is not at all comparable.” –President Biden to reporters on July 8, 2021
I was sad for America and for the Afghan people as I heard reports of diplomats scrambling to leave the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan and as I watched the chaotic scene unfold at the airport in Kabul on Sunday. It’s hard to forget the images of Afghans running alongside and clinging to the outside of a C-17 cargo transport plane as it took off. They were desperately hoping to escape the brutal rule of the Taliban. The reason for the sudden panic, of course, was the fall of Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, to the Taliban on August 15, which was preceded by the complete collapse of the Afghan army, the flight of Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, and the Taliban’s lightning fast takeover of the rest of the country.
A little background on the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan might be helpful at this point. President George W. Bush had originally sent troops to Afghanistan in 2001 after the terrorist attacks of 9-11 to prevent the Taliban from providing safe haven to terrorists, namely Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. But Bush’s focus on Afghanistan was soon eclipsed by the war in Iraq. When President Obama took office, his administration ramped up operations in Afghanistan, until Osama bin Laden was killed, at which time it gradually drew down the number of troops.
President Trump, eager to end America’s longest war, made a deal with the Taliban for the U.S. to leave the country by May 1, 2021. There were conditions to the agreement such as:
The Taliban was not to “allow any of its members, other individuals or groups, including Al Qaeda, to use the soil of Afghanistan to threaten the security of the United States and its allies.”
When President Biden took office, he pushed back the withdrawal date to September 11, 2021, the 20th anniversary of 9-11, and then moved it up to August 31. The Taliban considered this to be a violation of the agreement.
We can debate whether it is wise policy for America to leave Afghanistan now after 20 years and whether nation-building is a futile endeavor, but there is no doubt that the manner in which we are leaving shows the utter incompetence and callousness of the Biden administration. To neglect the safety of our own citizens in the withdrawal process is shameful. After seeing the disaster that took place in Kabul over the weekend, one could be excused for thinking that this administration cares little about its own citizens and even less about its Afghan partners. This debacle is evidence of the failure of the Biden administration to fulfill its most basic duty–protecting American lives.
CBS News reported that Americans in Afghanistan received a message over the weekend from the State Department instructing them to make their way to the airport in Kabul but that the U.S. could not guarantee safe travel to the airport.
It seems that our government has also neglected the Afghan interpreters who helped the U.S. military for the past 20 years. Since they currently do not have visas to leave the country, they are stranded at the airport in Kabul. Obviously, they feel betrayed by an American government which they spent two decades helping.
“We are not withdrawing, we are staying, the embassy is staying, our programs are staying … If there is a significant deterioration in security … I don’t think it’s going to be something that happens from a Friday to a Monday.” —Secretary of State Blinken on July 7
What do these failures indicate to our allies around the world? They show our friends that they can’t trust the United States government to keep its word. This loss of confidence in America’s ability to defend her allies won’t be easily repaired.
“I may be wrong, who knows, you can’t predict the future, but I don’t see Saigon 1975 in Afghanistan. The Taliban just aren’t the North Vietnamese Army. It’s not that kind of situation.” –Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley
We need new leadership in the United States. We need a President who will protect our troops, diplomats, and citizens. We need a leader who will show concern for our allies and keep his word. We need a Commander-in-Chief who will uphold America’s role as leader of the free world.
We also need to make national security a priority again. Allowing the Taliban to take over Afghanistan in a week’s time after twenty years of American investment in lives and treasure is virtually inviting terrorists to attack us.
In the past, America has been a beacon of liberty, a city on a hill, and a land of hope. She has stood up against the enemies of freedom and helped out those who couldn’t help themselves. But sadly, this botched withdrawal from Afghanistan shows the world that America does not currently have the right leadership to fulfill these roles. And that realization is emboldening the enemies of freedom around the world–from the Taliban to Russia to China.
So say a prayer tonight for the Americans and Afghans who are stranded in a country which is now ruled by terrorists. And say a prayer for America–that she would once again be a country which fights for freedom and defends her allies.