The anti-American Taliban have seized control of Afghanistan. The swiftness of their victory has emboldened America’s enemies, and left the Biden administration’s credibility in tatters.
In July, President Biden falsely claimed that the “the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely.” But by August 15, the Taliban had seized control of almost all of Afghanistan, including the capital city and the presidential palace.
Biden also claimed that “there’s going to be no circumstance where you see people being lifted off the roof of the embassy of the United States from Afghanistan.” This weekend, that happened — people fled in helicopters as the Taliban closed in on our embassy. A news story reported, “U.S. Helicopters Rush In To Evacuate Americans At Embassy In Kabul: ‘This Is Joe Biden’s Saigon.’”
“Rarely has an American president’s predictions been so wrong, so fast, so convincingly as President Biden on Afghanistan,” notes Axios, a center-left publication.
A mere two days after Pentagon spokesman John Kirby claimed there was no imminent threat to Afghanistan’s capital, Taliban officials had taken the city, and were sitting at the desk of President Ashraf Ghani, who fled the country.
Yet, on August 15, Secretary of State Antony Blinken was still claiming that the government’s handling of Afghanistan was “successful.”
The Taliban don’t think so. Emboldened by the sheer speed of their victory, they view it as just the beginning of America’s defeats. On August 15, a spokesman for the Taliban predicted that “Islamic law will come not to just Afghanistan, but all over the world…Jihad will not end until the last day.”
Back in 2020, before they took control of most of Afghanistan, the Taliban had made conciliatory noises toward the United States, because they feared a protracted battle. Then, the Taliban claimed it wanted an end to killing and conflict, not endless Jihad. But now, they have changed their tune, after seeing how quick and easy it is to defeat America’s allies.
Biden helped the Taliban take over Afghanistan by effectively grounding part of the Afghan Air Force. As the liberal Daily Beast notes, “As the U.S. withdrawal took hold, the Biden administration refused to allow contractors into the country to service the aircraft, effectively grounding some of the Afghan Air Force.”
Even as Secretary of State Blinken was claiming success, State Department systems had failed, leaving thousands of Afghans who assisted U.S. troops trapped in Afghanistan and unable to seek help. For example, the “email in-box for emergency visa applications for Afghans who worked with the U.S. has crashed, according to a former Air Force serviceman trying to help his local counterpart escape the advancing Taliban.” An expert on Afghanistan said Afghan allies outside of the capital, Kabul, will be left behind and face possible execution. America had “hundreds of bases…and garrisons all over the country” and the Taliban knows the identity of “many” stationed there, he said. “It will be almost impossible to get these Afghans and their families out of the country…This fact alone could result in the murder of many Afghans.”
If Afghanistan had fallen more slowly to the Taliban, these people could have escaped to the U.S. or countries like Canada, which agreed to take 20,000 Afghans. But the sheer speed of the Taliban takeover made that impossible, because the Taliban took control of Kabul before pro-American Afghans could flee the country. By August 15, with the airport jammed with terrified people trying to escape, commercial flights out of the country were suspended, and gunshots could be heard. People were being killed in Kabul.
Biden’s failure to protect American allies in Afghanistan will make people in foreign countries less willing to help the U.S. in future conflicts.
Afghanistan fell to the Taliban more completely and quickly than it otherwise might have, due to the Biden administration’s disorganized and sudden withdrawal and its faulty resource-allocation decisions prior to withdrawal.
The Biden administration’s incompetence hastened the Taliban victory. Congressman Peter Meijer said, “This is institutional failure on a staggering scale. The sheer incompetence of everything associated with this withdrawal is absolutely unforgivable.” As Ronald Neumann, the former US ambassador to Afghanistan, explained: “There’s a difference between the Biden decision to leave, and the Biden execution of the decision. The decision to leave is arguably justifiable. The execution of that decision is a lamentable disaster.”
In their abrupt and disorganized departure, U.S. troops left behind billions of dollars worth of military equipment that was seized by the Taliban. For example, Julian Röpcke reports that the Taliban “not only seized” around “a hundred US humvees” and armored personnel carriers in the city of Kunduz, but also valuable drones. “Billions of US taxpayer dollars going to Islamist extremists, thanks to the administration’s hasty withdrawal…Now every Taliban fighter gets his own Ford, Toyota, Humvee” or armored personnel carrier.
Biden “grossly miscalculated,” noted The Dispatch. Biden and U.S. General Mark Milley “had no idea what they were talking about,” it says. “There were plenty of warning signs.” Yet the Biden administration “did not see the jihadists’ offensive coming.” It also grossly overstated the strength of the Afghan government and understated the strength of the Taliban. It was “the biggest military-intelligence failure since the Tet offensive in 1968.”
This year, the U.S. wasted scarce resources and airpower trying to help the Afghan government maintain control of pro-Taliban regions, rather than concentrating resources on anti-Taliban areas that might have held out longer against the Taliban if they had more support.
Killings and forced marriages are reportedly common in Taliban-controlled areas. “All girls over the age of 15 and widows younger than 40 should be married to the insurgent fighters, a local Taliban leader told the congregation at Friday prayers…One of those present was later summoned and ordered to hand over his 15-year-old daughter,” reported the Wall Street Journal. Taliban fighters are “going to door to door” to round up girls as young as 12 to be “sex slaves” for Taliban fighters, reports claim.
In Paktia province, the Taliban have banned vaccination for the coronavirus. In 2018, the Taliban banned polio vaccination in their territory, preventing 3 million children from being vaccinated, and creating “the biggest problem for the long-running global campaign to stamp out the crippling poliovirus.”