KT edit: Biden fails in the art of diplomacy

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According to reports, more than 50,000 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan.

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Published: Wed 25 Aug 2021, 12:09 AM

The Taliban are clearly in a hurry to seal off the country from Western presence that could lead to a humanitarian crisis of their own making. Fears are mounting about US and Nato assets and personnel in the country, but the question is whether the group will go ahead with their threats. Would they risk further violence and invoke global ire just as they have a foot in the doors? While US President Joe Biden and his team rightly draw flak from all quarters, the world must not take its eye off the situation in Afghanistan that is seeing a flood of refugees who are being airlifted to Western countries for a new life. The US will house most of these refugees who had worked with American troops as interpreters and guides as they navigated the turmoil in the country for 20 years.

According to reports, more than 50,000 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan. The deadline of August 31 will be met, though many will be left behind as America determines who to save from the Taliban’s wrath. CIA chief William Burns met secretly in Kabul with Taliban co-founder and political leader Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Washington Post reported, ostensibly to buy time for the American evacuation effort. It is not known what transpired at the meeting but it is clear that the United States, the former military and ruling power in Afghanistan, currently holds zero leverage in the country. Washington is at the mercy of the Taliban, but the White House is wary of making that admission. If the US president thinks he could save face by sending his top intelligence official to strike a deal with a former enemy for a safe passage beyond August 31 for American personnel and partners, he is wrong. Biden has only succeeded in reaping more embarrassment for his beleaguered administration that has lost control of the situation.

There is no bargaining power left with the US military exiting the country. The Taliban has smelt blood and is rubbing salt into Biden’s wounds. His Vice-President Kamala Harris is on a Southeast Asia trip and is either unable or unwilling to give him wise counsel. His A team has packed up and given up the fight. It’s a lonely battle and the US president is dealing with the mess all by himself. The US may eventually rescue most Americans from Afghanistan which will be the sum total of two decades of losses in the country. For the Taliban, this is a resounding diplomatic victory that they will drag on to complete America’s humiliation on the world stage.

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