Opinion and Editorial

How Biden blew it in Afghanistan

Filed on August 15, 2021
US Marine is given a hand using barbed wire to secure the walls the US embassy in Kabul on January 11, 2002. — AFP file

America’s hasty exit from Afghanistan will go down in history as the country’s most shameful military withdrawal ever

This is Joseph R. Biden’s darkest hour. The bluster, bombs and blundering notwithstanding, America’s hasty exit from Afghanistan will go down in history as the country’s most shameful military withdrawal ever, even beating Vietnam, with Korea being a stalemate. But going by the ease at which the Taliban have taken over major cities, it appears that the United States played along or turned a blind eye to the group’s influence and presence among the Afghan population after being played by their crafty foe during months and years of negotiations. Former president Donald Trump had spelt out his plan to pull out last year but Biden ensured a Taliban clean sweep with his inaction. No questions asked — about what the Taliban would do for the country after America decided to walk out the door. He handed it to them on a platter and the repercussions will long be felt in the region and across the world.

America’s longest war has come to nought in Afghanistan. The scoreline: 20-0 in the Taliban favour. Nothing to take home, not even the pretence of a fight. How can there be glory when the United States didn’t show guts in the first place? One last stand for the country? Whose country? America looked beaten and lost before actual fighting began in August. The great superpower left in the still of the night last month and the Afghan establishment’s troops it trained to fight the Taliban terrorists showed little resistance and the will to counter-attack as the Taliban swept through large swathes of the country. The stage is set for a full takeover by the militants. Misery awaits the people of the country but at least there will be less bloodshed. For that, they will have to thank the 46th president of the United States.

American troops and money were wasted — $3 trillion according to estimates. And to think President Biden sleepwalked into this hasty drawdown, with his advisers leading him up the garden path! For someone who pitched himself as everyone’s president, Uncle Joe’s been a terrible strategist who has been tossed between the left and the far left in his establishment who are helping to take the Taliban’s brand of extremism mainstream. The group’s track record on rights and the extreme levels of violence it can resort to should have shocked liberals. Yet they chose to goad Biden on this misadventure that has made the United States the laughing stock of the world.

The US went in with the stated goal of giving the Afghan people a better life, only to leave with egg on its face two decades later. Trump, for all his faults, had instilled some fear amongst America’s enemies. Biden has shown what a lost cause looks like.

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