A Taliban rampage across Afghanistan continues, with territory controlled by the United States-backed government shrinking to just Panjshir Province.
As the terror group overtook Kabul capital for the first time in two decades Sunday, President Ashraf Ghani fled to Tajikistan.
President Joe Biden’s calamitous surrender forced him to send in more servicemen to help evacuate civilians. The deployment of 5,000 troops Saturday — more than were in country before the withdrawal began — aims to ensure an “orderly and safe” drawdown of military personnel.
But disorder reigned all weekend, as helicopters raced to evacuate U.S. embassy staff, while personnel destroyed important documents, and the American flag was lowered.
Diplomats relocated to a new outpost in scenes reminiscent of Saigon’s fall 46 years ago. In horrifying footage, several Afghans fell to their deaths after trying to cling to a C-17 transport aircraft as it departed Kabul’s airport.
“The Biden Administration’s botched exit from Afghanistan including the frantic evacuation of Americans and vulnerable Afghans from Kabul is a shameful failure of American leadership,” Sen. Mitch McConnell wrote in a Sunday night statement.
The Taliban seized nearly all of Afghanistan in just over a week, despite military intelligence assessments estimating the capital would not come under pressure for a month. Afghan forces at Bagram Air Base, home to a prison housing 5,000 Taliban and ISIS inmates, also surrendered to the Taliban.
A Taliban official said militants would hold talks in the coming days to form an “open, inclusive Islamic government.” They also pledged to maintain law and order during the transition.
The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board was blunt Monday, claiming, “President Biden’s statement on Saturday washing his hands of Afghanistan deserves to go down as one of the most shameful in history by a Commander in Chief at such a moment of American retreat. As the Taliban closed in on Kabul, Mr. Biden sent a confirmation of U.S. abandonment that absolved himself of responsibility, deflected blame to his predecessor, and more or less invited the Taliban to take over the country.”
Concerned about the Taliban reimposing its barbaric rule, Afghan families reportedly rushed to cash machines to withdraw money before attempting to flee.
“Afghanistan’s democracy will be eviscerated. Its economic gains will be reversed,” former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg predicted in a scathing weekend column entitled “The U.S. Can’t Walk Away From Afghanistan.”
“Ethnic minorities will be imperiled and extremist groups emboldened. For women and girls, the threat is especially menacing,” he said.
The failed 2020 presidential candidate cast blame on the last four presidential administrations, noting Afghanistan policy “has veered from incoherent to counterproductive.”
The cycle began when then-President Donald Trump signed a deal with the Taliban in February 2020 that limited direct military action against the insurgents. This led to no casualties, but many believe the Taliban only bided their time. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended those goals Sunday, while also claiming Ghani is corrupt.
Due to America’s presence, infant mortality dropped by half, life expectancy increased by six years, ten times more Afghan children are now in school, and women were again treated humanely.
“We heard, again and again, that there was no military solution to the war in Afghanistan. But the Taliban clearly had one in mind. We hear that the consequences of this lost war can be managed. But self-defeat based in incompetence and lack of will should be cause for grave concern. There is much more suffering and violence ahead,” retired U.S. Army lieutenant general and former National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster opined Monday on Substack.
As for the White House, Biden remains hunkered down at Camp David but plans to address the nation Monday afternoon. Vice President Kamala Harris has been AWOL for weeks, and Press Secretary Jen Psaki is apparently on vacation until next Monday.
A.J. Kaufman is an Alpha News columnist. His work has appeared in the Baltimore Sun, Florida Sun-Sentinel, Indianapolis Star, Israel National News, Orange County Register, St. Cloud Times, Star-Tribune, and across AIM Media Midwest and the Internet. Kaufman previously worked as a school teacher and military historian.