Good Morning DC!
Afghanistan has fallen. Taliban entered Afghan capital Kabul.
President Biden issued a statement yesterday with all the perfect words aimed at U.S. public opinion. Still, nothing he says can change the reality of the failed nation-building project, or whichever fancy name was used to justify two decades of war and gazillions of dollars poured into the country that never was capable of standing on its own without the help of the coalition forces.
“One more year, or five more years, of U.S. military presence would not have made a difference if the Afghan military cannot or will not hold its own country. And an endless American presence in the middle of another country’s civil conflict was not acceptable to me,” said Biden to no avail.
Then, he continued to blame the outcome of his withdrawal mission on the “former guy,” Trump, whose promise to leave Afghanistan Biden made sure to carry out, quickly, and according to the views of many international security experts I am speaking to, “hastily” and “without a proper transition in place.”
“When I came to office,” Biden begun, “I inherited a deal cut by my predecessor—which he invited the Taliban to discuss at Camp David on the eve of 9/11 of 2019—that left the Taliban in the strongest position militarily since 2001 and imposed a May 1, 2021 deadline on U.S. forces.” He continued, “Shortly before he left office he [Trump] also drew U.S. forces down to a bare minimum of 2,500.”
Biden said that he “faced a choice” to “follow through on the deal, with a brief extension to get our forces and our allies’ forces out safely, or ramp up our presence and send more American troops to fight once again in another country’s civil conflict.”
The outcome? Biden did not want to become the fourth President to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan.
Regardless, Taliban militants have taken control of nearly all major cities and have moved into the capital, Kabul, in yet another history repeats itself geopolitical moment. An Afghan official told AP that they are getting ready for a “transfer” of power and peaceful surrender of Kabul.
The question lingers: We went into Afghanistan twenty years ago. Was it worth it?
“The likelihood there’s going to be the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely,” said Biden on July 8, 2021. Yet, here we are. The fact that President Biden placed the success of the U.S. withdrawal on the anniversary of 9/11 is quite staggering.
There were three significant decisions made in Washington that led to this moment.
- President Obama’s decision to announce the end of the presence of the U.S. troops without consulting the Afghan government
- President Trump negotiating with the Taliban behind the back of the Afghan government a release of the prisoners
- President Biden’s decision to carry out Trump’s promise and link the withdrawal with the anniversary of 9/11.
In the past two months, the Afghan army was left on its own without the airpower capability to fight. The U.S. contractors who service helicopters were removed which, with other farewell measures, overall broke the army’s moral to fight.
The latest developments will have horrific geopolitical ramifications. Neighboring countries like Iran and Pakistan and Turkey will close their borders in case Afghan people who want to immigrate decide to stream into neighboring countries.
Downing Street source told Good Morning DC that the UK Parliament will be recalled next week to address the situation in Afghanistan and step up its efforts to protect the people.
And that’s a wrap for this Sunday morning, August 15, 2021. Throughout August, Good Morning DC will be published on Sundays. Starting September 1, we will go back to our daily schedule. In the meantime, make sure to read our daily political and other coverage at www.thepavlovictoday.com. Thanks for reading Good Morning DC.
—Ksenija Pavlovic McAteer
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