Afghanistan: Mission Accomplished! Time To Go Home
Last night, Husain Haqqani, Pakistan's ambassador to U.S, from 2008 to 2011 and author of Pakistan Between Mosque and Military' and Magnificent Delusions, the "Taliban took Kabul without much of a fight in 1996 and left the city without much of a fight in 2001. Melting away is what militias do in Afghanistan when they see their side is losing." Today it's the American's puppet government in Kabul that is melting away, its "350,000 man" army having already largely done so. The main puppet, Ashraf Ghani, sneaked off to Tajikistan. No reports if he's a billionaire or not. "U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in Washington that the embassy was being moved to the airport deliberately and safely and has list of people to get out of harm's way." The blame-game, of course, has commenced.
I think most Americans are sensible enough to understand that withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan was something he was right in doing. It's an undeniably ugly mess but that mess should be blamed on George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump and the American public for letting them get away with it-- not on Joe Biden, who finally made the right move to get out of an untenable situation supporting an incompetent, corrupt and unpopular puppet regime.
Nor was what was about to happen unknowable. I cannot imagine that if I knew, the Pentagon, Langley and White House didn't. I sure hope not! This was from June 23:
Needless to say the warmongers are all over the media blaming Biden. Notorious war monger Michael McCaul (R-TX), top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who never met a war he didn't support, was on State of the Union today. They didn't introduce him as someone who has consistently demanded U.S. military action against Iran, Syria, Yemen and anywhere else on the globe he looked at. Instead, Jake Tapper gave him a platform to spout his bloodthirsty dogma: "This is gonna be a stain on this president and his presidency. And I think he's gonna have blood on his hands from what they did." It's certainly his job to create that narrative. "They totally blew this one, they completely underestimated the strength of the Taliban." Maybe it was the weakness of the puppet regime they got wrong? "[Biden] owns this. Absolutely, 100 percent, he owns it. He made the decision and what's worse Jake is when you and I started to get engaged on this, once he made the decision, he could have done certain things he could have planned for it. He could have had a strategy for this, but instead they had no strategy... The consequences from a national security standpoint are severe because now they can say they defeated the United States in Afghanistan, the infidel, just like they defeated the Soviet Union. This will have long-term ramifications." McCaul, who married into wealth and is the 5th richest man in Congress, isn't capable of understanding that he is to blame.
Liz Cheney and Ben Sasse, two other warmongers, want to put the blame on Trump and Biden. Sasse's unhinged official statement: "The unmitigated disaster in Afghanistan-- the shameful, Saigon-like abandonment of Kabul, the brutalization of Afghan women, and the slaughter of our allies-- is the predictable outcome of the Trump-Biden doctrine of weakness. History must be clear about this: American troops didn’t lose this war-- Donald Trump and Joe Biden deliberately decided to lose. Politicians lied: America’s options were never simply this disgraceful withdrawal or an endless occupation force of 100,000 troops (we haven’t had that in Afghanistan in a decade). America’s leaders didn’t tell the truth that our small, forward-deployed force of a few thousand was the backbone of intelligence and special forces’ successful work to decapitate terror organizations. The looming defeat will badly hurt American intelligence and give jihadis a safe haven in Afghanistan, again. America will regret this. Our allies will trust us less and our adversaries fear us less. China is already exploiting this latest instance of American retreat. We need a long-term national security strategy."
Yesterday, Axios' Erin Doherty reported that Biden and Trump are blaming each other for the unfolding mayhem. On Saturday Biden told the media that it's Trump's fault "for empowering the Taliban and leaving them 'in the strongest position militarily since 2001.' Trump responded with a statement blaming Biden for the situation unfolding in Afghanistan. Biden said in a statement that he had to make a choice and that he would not pass on the war to a 'fifth' U.S. president. 'When I became president, I faced a choice-- 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,' Biden said. '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,' Biden added. 'And an endless American presence in the middle of another country’s civil conflict was not acceptable to me.'"
Doherty continued that Trump then sent an e-mail claiming that Biden "'ran out of Afghanistan instead of following the plan our Administration left for him. What a disgrace it will be when the Taliban raises their flag over America’s Embassy in Kabul,' Trump said. 'This is complete failure through weakness, incompetence, and total strategic incoherence.' Trump said in April that Biden's decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan was 'a wonderful and positive thing to do,' but criticized the timeline and said the U.S. 'should get out earlier.'
Financial Times editor, Gideon Rachman, a mainstay of the British foreign policy establishment and the definition of a status quo imperialist hack, had supported Obama both times he ran and today shredded Biden's decision on Afghanistan. "If Donald Trump were presiding over the debacle in Afghanistan," he wrote, "the US foreign policy establishment would be loudly condemning the irresponsibility and immorality of American strategy. Since it is Joe Biden in the White House there is instead, largely, an embarrassed silence. It is true that Trump set the US on the path out of Afghanistan and began the delusional peace talks with the Taliban that have gone nowhere. But rather than reverse the withdrawal of troops, Biden accelerated it. The horrific results are unfolding on the ground in Afghanistan, as the Taliban take city after city. The final collapse of the government looks inevitable. It may come just in time for the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that originally led to the US-led invasion of Afghanistan.”
Yaroslav Trofimov, the Wall Street Journal's reporter in Kabul wrote this morning that Taliban fighters took over Kabul "as President Ashraf Ghani fled abroad, triggering a massive effort to airlift Western diplomats, civilians and Afghans likely to be targeted by the country’s new rulers."
Demoralized Afghan security forces offered no resistance as the insurgents, who seized most of the country in just over a week, appeared Sunday morning on Kabul’s outskirts. While the Taliban initially said they wouldn’t enter the city while a transitional government is being formed, they reversed their stance by nightfall, saying that someone needed to maintain public order after Afghan police deserted their posts.
“To prevent chaos and looting, the Islamic Emirate has ordered the mujahedeen to get control of the abandoned areas,” a Taliban statement said. The Taliban fighters, it added, won’t bother any civilian or military officials of the former regime.
By evening, the main road to the Kabul airport-- packed with Afghans desperately trying to escape and with thousands of American troops protecting the evacuation effort-- presented a bizarre scene of Taliban fighters mingling with uniformed Afghan troops.
Mr. Ghani, who fled the presidential palace and spent Sunday morning at the U.S. Embassy, left the Afghan capital in the afternoon. “God will hold him accountable and the people of Afghanistan will make their judgment,” Kabul’s chief peace negotiator said in a video message. A senior security official confirmed Mr. Ghani’s departure.
On Sunday morning, the administration of Mr. Ghani told all employees to go home. Soon after, sporadic gunfire erupted and some checkpoints were abandoned as panicked residents clogged the streets. By early afternoon, the Taliban took over Kabul’s main Pul-e-Charkhi prison, freeing thousands of inmates, videos on social media showed.
At the U.S. Embassy on Sunday afternoon, helicopters ferried American and Western diplomats and civilians to the military side of Kabul airport. One after another, Chinooks and Black Hawks took off from the landing zone, spraying dust.
Below them was a city of traffic jams and roundabouts choked by cars-- many of them filled with Afghans trying to reach the airport’s relative safety. Dark smoke, presumably from burning documents, rose from the presidential palace.
In the airport, large crowds gathered at the military gate, trying to get through the checkpoint. There was an exchange of gunfire, with a warning of a ground attack sounding in the terminal.
Dozens of gray U.S. Air Force and British transport planes awaited their passengers, the landing strip secured by newly arrived American troops.
Some of the evacuating Westerners waited on cardboard boxes marked with the words “non-Pork MRE,” or meal-ready-to-eat. Others-- including Afghan dual citizens-- nervously waited their turn for the shuttle bus that would take them to their planes, away from the city they would be unlikely to see again soon.
In Kabul, just before the Taliban takeover, long lines formed outside banks and at the city’s few functioning ATMs as residents rushed to withdraw their cash before it was too late. Few succeeded.
The stunning meltdown of the Afghan state left the city in shock.
In a message to followers Sunday, the Taliban’s leader, Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, urged his fighters to treat conquered cities with a benevolent hand.
“The victories are coming, do not be arrogant and conceited, do not betray the spoils of war, and treat well those who surrender to you,” he said. “Do your best to avoid civilian casualties.”
Is there a lesson we should learn from this. Oh, yes-- and Warren Gunnels, once Bernie's senior policy advisor, states that lesson as clearly and succinctly as can be done.