Afghanistan has fallen. Yesterday, the Taliban moved in and took control of Kabul at a speed that surprised Joe Biden and his team members. “We’ve seen that that force has been unable to defend the country, and that has happened more quickly than we anticipated,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken admitted to CNN.
Militants overtook the Presidential Palace in Kabul, posing for pictures and videos which Al Jazeera disseminated around the world.
President Ashraf Ghani fled the country with a Facebook message saying he is leaving Afghanistan to “avoid bloodshed.”
“The Taliban have won with the judgement of their swords and guns, and are now responsible for the honour, property and self-preservation of their countrymen,” Ghani said. It is believed that he left for Tajikistan, although there are reports that this was not his final destination, and he may end up in Uzbekistan.
On vacation at Camp David, President Biden and Vice President met by secure videoconference with their national security team. According to a White House Official, the meeting revolved around “updates on the drawdown of our civilian personnel in Afghanistan, evacuations of SIV applicants and other Afghan allies, and the ongoing security situation in Kabul.”
Hours after that, the U.S. embassy staff were evacuated from the roof, an event that parallels the U.S. exit from Saigon.
“The latest news of a further drawdown at our Embassy and a hasty deployment of military forces seem like preparations for the fall of Kabul. President Biden’s decisions have us hurtling toward an even worse sequel to the humiliating fall of Saigon in 1975,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement.
“There’s going to be no circumstance where you see people being lifted off the roof of a embassy in the — of the United States from Afghanistan,” Biden said in July. “The likelihood there’s going to be one unified government in Afghanistan controlling the whole country is highly unlikely.”
Despite the chaos, President Biden doubled down by saying that he’s not regretting the move.
State Department Spokesperson Ned Price issued a joint statement on behalf of the international community amidst the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan.
“Those in positions of power and authority across Afghanistan bear responsibility—and accountability—for the protection of human life and property, and for the immediate restoration of security and civil order,” said Price.
“Afghans and international citizens who wish to depart must be allowed to do so; roads, airports and border crossing must remain open, and calm must be maintained.”
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres shared his concern about the situation in Afghanistan. ” I urge the Taliban and all others to exercise utmost restraint to protect lives and ensure humanitarian needs can be met,” he said.
On Monday, Ben Wallace, UK Defense Secretary, talking for Sky News, said that the British troops wouldn’t be returning to Afghanistan.
Reactions to Joe Biden’s execution of withdrawal are not favorable. Carl Bildt, Co-Chair of the European Council on Foreign Relations went as far as to say that the “Soviet Union managed its exit from Afghanistan better than the U.S. did.”
Former President Trump has called for Joe Biden to resign. He issued the following statement. “What Joe Biden has done with Afghanistan is legendary. It will go down as one of the greatest defeats in American history!”
Jim Jordan tweeted “America’s in crisis. Afghanistan’s in chaos. Why’s Joe Biden on vacation?”
Elise Stefanik, GOP Conference Chairwoman who replaced Liz Cheney had similar words for President Biden. She tweeted: “America is in crisis. And Joe Biden is on vacation.”
Republican Jim Banks went on to speculate about Pelosi’s move to impeach Trump should he has been in charge of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Rory Stewart spoke about “the most astonishing failure of intelligence and analysis from the U.S. and it’s allies.”
Afghanistan is now under Taliban control but they claim that the people will be allowed to return home and won’t be harmed.
What to look for today?
- UN Security Council emergency session called by Russia to take place
- Ned Price to hold the press briefing at the State Department
- Joe Biden did not address the media and is yet to to speak publicly, most likely in a televised address upon his return from Camp David to the White House