A whole 24 hours after the shambolic conclusion to America’s longest, quixotic War in Afghanistan, President Joe Biden, the man who concocted the disastrous US withdraw from Afghanistan, the president took to his bully pulpit to remind everyone just how much they missed the mean Orange Man who resided in the Oval Office before him.
In his turgid, meandering, nonsensical remarks in which the forty-sixth president simultaneously defended his decision to pull US forces out of Afghanistan while also throwing the blame at former President Trump, the deposed Afghan leader, Ashraf Ghani, and the Afghan National Army (ANA), Mr. Biden actually praised the Taliban for their dedicated assistance…in pushing American military power out of Afghanistan and kicking it in the ass as it fumbled out the door.
Biden then pivoted and blamed the 300 (it’s more) American citizens who are now stuck in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan with no way out because of Mr. Biden’s disastrous pullout for refusing to leave the country after having been asked to leave by the Biden Administration “a total of 19 times” since March of this year.
This is the equivalent of Wall Street fat cats in Goldman Sachs and elsewhere blaming the 2008 Great Recession on ordinary Americans, who simply wanted to do that which the entire society had encouraged them to do their entire lives: buy a home and live better than their parents did. Corporate greed had little to do with that financial crisis.
Similarly, we are led to believe by Biden that this debacle in Afghanistan was definitely not his fault (though he does want history to remember that “I alone” made the decision to leave Afghanistan as he did).
Ah, but you see, Mr. Biden’s hands were tied behind his back!
His much maligned, dreaded predecessor had made a deal with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar last year to abandon Afghanistan in 14 months from February 2020! Yet, there is ample evidence to suggest that the Trump-Taliban deal was tentative and was designed to be the beginning, not the conclusion, of what would have been a series of deals between the United States, the Taliban, and the US-supported Ghani government in Kabul.
The goal was not to discard the 20 years of American investment of blood, time, and treasure just to have the Taliban return to power. The objective for Mr. Trump was to pare down US forces in Afghanistan but to keep enough capabilities in the country meant to ensure that the ANA could still operate effectively to secure the country while the pared down US forces in Afghanistan fixated solely on counterterrorism missions against Islamist radicals poised to wage war upon the United States and its Western allies; against those forces seeking to use Afghanistan as a base for global terrorist operations as it was used by al Qaeda before 9/11.
We know that this was what Biden wanted for Afghanistan going back to his first year as vice-president to Barack Obama. As reported by Bob Woodward in Obama’s Wars, Biden was the only one pushing for the forty-fourth president to ignore the military’s (bad) advice about embracing counterinsurgency (COIN) for Obama’s Afghan troop surge in 2009-10. Biden’s counter proposal was for the US to drawdown the bulk of its forces but leave behind small counterterrorism teams to go disrupt terror networks in Afghanistan indefinitely.
In this, Trump agreed with Biden and his initial attempt to deal with the Taliban and drawdown US forces in a safe and sensible manner in 2020 followed this line of reasoning. But, a year later, when Biden became POTUS, he seems to have forgotten his own plan and simply quit Afghanistan as messily as possible.
But, even if Biden’s claims were true that his predecessor had made a monumentally bad deal with the Taliban in February 2020…why was he bound to it?
Biden’s Hands Were Never Tied in Afghanistan by Trump
After all, we know for a fact that the Biden Administration had absolutely no compunction about overturning essentially any and all policies that the Trump Administration had instituted that the Biden team deemed unfashionable, racist, misogynistic, or illegal. Just look at the chaos that has reigned at the US Southwestern Border since Biden was sworn in.
The border had been contained by the end of the Trump Administration. Even without the border wall being fully built, it was helping to stave off the mass migrations. Yet, the Biden Administration dismantled the diplomatic agreements between the Trump Administration and various Latin American states that, according to the president of Guatemala earlier this year, had helped stem the tide of Illegal Immigration through the region into the United States.
So, why was Biden not hamstrung by his predecessor’s border agreements with Latin American states but he was tied down by the very tentative deal Mr. Trump had made with the Taliban?
As Christopher Gage, my colleague from across The Pond rightly noted…
And it gets better.
Embracing the Taliban
As noted above, Biden praised the Taliban for their “assistance” in kicking the US out of Kabul. This is a group that the United States had been at war with for 20 years in Afghanistan. This was a terror group that giddily has American blood on its hands. It’s a group that is currently preventing 300 American citizens from leaving the country, despite the fact that these Americans so desperately want out.
One wonders why the Taliban would have prevented the Americans from leaving before August 31 who are now stuck in Afghanistan if they were such great and cuddly friends of ours!
Could it be that the Taliban wanted American hostages to barter with Washington over things like diplomatic recognition or the unfreezing of Afghan financial assets?
Not to be outdone by his incoherent boss, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan proudly reported to the press that the “US may deliver aid and economic assistance directly to the Taliban”!
Then there was Biden’s entire reasoning for executing the messy evacuation of Kabul that he ordered. He insisted that August 31 was not an arbitrary date–when, in fact, it was. The original agreement between former President Trump and the Taliban had the Americans pulling out of Afghanistan by May 2021. That date changed. August 31 held no significance to anyone. Biden just pulled it out of his rear end. And it shows. It was a rushed, botched plan that left Americans behind.
The president felt it was necessary to explain why he wouldn’t extend the evacuation deadline, stating that Kabul was no longer “safe” for US forces to remain a minute longer than they did. Which, as Bruno Maçães understandably points out…
So, now, the US has no footprint–small or large–in Afghanistan at a time when the regime we ousted in 2001 is restored and is already planning to allow for Afghanistan to become a base of operations for al Qaeda yet again. Channeling their inner Noam Chomsky, the commander of al Qaeda released his own statement recently that reads as follows:
al-Qaeda as-Sahab releases 2pg written msg by General Command: Congratulations to Islamic Ummah on victory granted by Allah in Afghanistan.We praise the Almighty, the Omnipotent, who humiliated & defeated America, the head of disbelief. We praise Him for breaking America’s back, tarnishing its global reputation & expelling it, disgraced & humiliated, from Islamic land of Afghanistan. We congratulate Islamic Ummah on this historic victory that has been achieved at hands of resolute Afghan nation.This victory has demonstrated what Islamic nation is capable of when it units, takes up arms & fights in Way of Allah to defend its Religion, its sanctities, its lands & wealth. These events prove Way of Jihad is only way that leads to victory & empowerment. No matter how well-equipped, numerically superior, hegemonic & brutal enemy might be, it shall never be able to stand test of time in face of nation that strongly holds on Book of Allah.So our dear Ummah! It is time for you to prepare for next stage of struggle, the way for which has been paved by victory of defiant Afghan nation. With help of Allah, this historic victory will open the way for Muslim masses to achieve liberation from despotic rule of tyrants who have been imposed by West on Islamic World. God Willing, victory of Muslim Ummah in Afghanistan shall prove to be a prelude to liberation of Palestine.America & NATO’s Afghan debacle marks beginning of the end of dark era of Western hegemony & mil occupation of Islamic lands. It is worth mentioning here that these historic events offer opportunity for masses in Europe & East Asia to break free from shackles of American hegemony.O Allah! Just as you liberated Afghanistan from American occupation, liberate Palestine from Zionist occupation & Islamic Maghreb from French occupation. Liberate the Levant, Somalia, Yemen, Kashmir & rest of Islamic lands from clutches of the enemies of Islam.
There were so many lies, half-truths, and purposely inaccuracies told by Mr. Biden in this reprehensible speech–which was little more than a surrender to the Taliban of all people–that I could spend hours writing about it. One glaring takeaway from this slag-heap of a presidential speech is that the United States will somehow be safer today.
It will not.
Because Biden removed all US forces–all of America’s leverage over the recalcitrant Taliban–before he could get a reliable agreement from Taliban leaders not to completely eradicate the good that the United States did over the last 20 years in Afghanistan, he ensured that the August 31 pullout would be the debacle that it appeared to be (it was actually worst than it appeared on camera).
Judging from al Qaeda’s statement on the US abandonment of Afghanistan, clearly, America’s foes in the Global War on Terror have a better grasp of the situation than we do. In essence, we lost and everyone but the Biden Administration seems to understand that.
And then there is the odious lie perpetuated by President Biden and the Taliban leadership that we, in fact, have much in common with the Taliban. You see, we are not at war with the Taliban any longer…we are, instead, confronted by a common enemy in the form of the ISIS-Khorosan (IS-K) network operating from the foothills of Afghanistan.
Yet, if this were so then why did the Taliban spend so much time in the last year “liberating” thousands of IS-K fighters from Afghan prisons?
Could it be that the Taliban leadership knew that Washington would effectively abandon Afghanistan to its Medieval fate, so to keep Washington interested in the landlocked country after the disastrous pullout, the Taliban effectively created an enemy for the Americans in the form of IS-K that Washington could not possibly ignore?
There was a reason that the Taliban let loose thousands of members of their hated (supposedly) IS-K rivals. They knew that those rivals, while a threat, were the key to securing Washington’s cooperation.
In essence, Biden got played BIGLY. And his administration continues propagating patently false narratives about how, contrary to their image, the Taliban were hugely helpful during the Kabul evacuation.
This is stomach-churning sophistry. It is also completely divorced from reality. With his Afghan debacle, Mr. Biden has done more to damage US credibility, its ability to fight–and win–the War on Terrorism, and US military efficacy than any enemy could. That he has now taken up Taliban talking points is par for the course.
It’s going to get much messier from here as the Americans under Biden eventually become muscle and money for the ruling Taliban…while the Taliban are not made to account for any of their actions. We’ve surrendered Afghanistan to the Taliban and we’ve surrendered the War on Terror by aligning with the terrorists we were supposedly fighting–in much the same way as we did in Syria, Libya, and Egypt (for a time). We don’t deserve to be a Superpower anymore.
One Final Thing
We keep hearing from President Biden about the fact that both China and Russia, our great rivals in the new great power competition for global dominance, wanted nothing more than to see us continue wasting resources and lives in the rugged mountains of Afghanistan.
Here again Mr. Biden is misleading the American people. Contrary to whatever Biden said about the matter, the Chinese were more than pleased to see the US military remain bogged down indefinitely in Afghanistan.
After all, not once did the US attempt to capitalize on the presence of at least $1 trillion worth of Rare Earth Minerals. In fact, the US military did the fighting and dying in Afghanistan when, as far back as 2010, the Chinese began making deals to gain exclusive access to the various Rare Earth supplies that existed in Afghanistan.
China basically free-rode off the United States military guarantee.
Beyond that, the longer we stayed and the more we committed, Beijing knew it would be more difficult for us to leave. They also knew that, when we did leave, it would be hugely humiliating. The fact that the Biden Administration took every step to make the situation more harrowing and chaotic was merely sauce for China’s goose.
\Thanks to the pathetic images of the US military fleeing for the exits, leaving hundreds of people with US passports behind to the tender mercies of the Taliban, Beijing could continue making its case in the press that its regime was the future of the world and the United States and her sclerotic democracy would be consigned to the dustbin of history.
After the evacuation that Mr. Biden and his sycophants clearly believe was perfect, this image appeared in Chinese state media…
The Chinese now benefit from humiliating the Americans, having US allies like Taiwan question whether or not Washington would have their back in the event of a Chinese invasion of the threatened island democracy, while China uses Afghanistan as a critical node in its burgeoning New Silk Road linking China to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, and while China benefits financially from the Rare Earth Minerals in Afghanistan. Oh, and China has apparently gotten a cursory look at all of the beautiful military equipment that the Americans left behind in Afghanistan in their rush to leave.
Yeah, Biden set the country back in a big way with this Afghanistan withdrawal. That he doesn’t recognize this is very disconcerting.