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Biden’s Presidency Will Be Marked By Afghanistan
Shattered US credibility.
By Joseph Puder
In an objective writing of the annals of history, the loss of Iran to the radical and terroristic Ayatollahs is clearly attributed to President Jimmy Carter. Similarly, the loss of Afghanistan to the radical jihadists of the Taliban, and the shameful abandonment of the Afghan people, in particular those who helped the US (translators, and various civil servants, etc.), will be connected to President Joe Biden’s name. And as Afghanistan has reverted back to the radical jihadist base from which the 9/11 attacks on America originated, will a large portion of Iraq and Syria fall back to the Islamic State, once Biden has pulled out the remaining American forces there?
The twenty-year war in Afghanistan was a costly one for the US taxpayers, and more importantly, in American lives. According to the Associated Press (AP), 2,448 US servicemen were killed, as well as 3,846 US contractors. Financially, the US spent an astronomical amount of $2.26 Trillion, according to the Brown University Costs of War Project estimates on the war in Afghanistan from 2001-2021. Granted, President Biden didn’t give the order to invade Afghanistan, and remove the Taliban from power, it was President George W. Bush, reacting to the 9/11, 2001 terrorist attack on America by Al-Qaeda, based in Afghanistan. Then US Senator Biden, however, voted in 2001 for the US action in Afghanistan. Later, he called for setting aside billions in aid to rebuild Afghanistan. In 2008, as a US Senator, he once again called for more US troops to be sent to Afghanistan, as well as more money to be invested there.
Several weeks ago, the Commander in Chief, President Biden declared: “There’s to be no circumstances where you see people being lifted off the roof of an embassy of the United States in Afghanistan.” What we have seen is far worse, Afghans hanging on the fuselage of a huge US transport plane leaving the frightened people behind. Biden did moreover add, “The likelihood there’s going to be the Taliban overrunning everything, and owning the whole country is highly unlikely.” Once again, Biden was dead wrong!
Britain’s Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, reacting to the US rushed withdrawal from Afghanistan, warned that “due to the Taliban’s quick advance some people will not get back.” He added, “It’s sad that the West had done what it’s done,” referring to leaving civilians behind in Afghanistan. He suggested that, “Al-Qaeda is likely to reinstate its presence in the region once foreign troops are gone, and could pose a direct threat to Western countries.”
Afghanistan is essentially a tribal society. Its harsh mountainous terrain has shaped the nature and character of its people. There is no allegiance to a nation-state, instead one’s loyalty and the willingness to fight and die is for the tribe, clan, family, and the charismatic mullah. This is what the Pashtun majority in Afghanistan are fighting for, their fellow Pashtuns radical, jihadist, and Sunni-Muslim mullahs. The Taliban is predominantly Pashtun-led and supported. Ethnically and linguistically (Pashto, and Dari), the Pashtuns are related to the Persians (who once occupied this wild land), and there are some speculations that the Pashtuns are descendants of the exiled ten tribes of Israel. The Taliban has treated the minorities in Afghanistan (Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, Turkmen, etc.) harshly, and persecuted religious minorities such as Sikhs, and Hindus in particular. Women, under the Taliban rule, have been isolated, and oppressed, girls were barred from attending school. To its credit, America showed the Afghan people a path to better lives, only to be reversed now by the Taliban.
Truth be told – Afghanistan has always been a grand cemetery for invading powers. In the 19th Century, the British sent thousands of its soldiers there, few returned alive. In the 20th Century, the Soviet empire sent hundreds of thousands of its troops to die there, and ultimately withdrew in shame. The Afghan adventure contributed to the ultimate demise of the Soviet Union. In the 21st Century, it was America’s turn to flee the chaotic and ungovernable hellhole known as Afghanistan. Albeit, America did not seek any territorial or economic gains there, it merely sought to remove a jihadist regime (Taliban) that sheltered the terrorists of al-Qaeda, responsible for the terrorist attacks on America. Unfortunately, the nation building project in Afghanistan was expensive, and was doomed to fail.
The Biden administration giving notice to the Taliban of the impending withdrawal of US troops made the Taliban offensive inevitable. The message America’s enemies will now propagate is clear: don’t trust the Americans; they will abandon you at a critical moment. The Kurds in Iraq, and Syria must now wonder if they are next to being left to their indefensible devices. The US has troops in Germany (Europe), Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan; all of them have had US troops stationed there for decades, to defend these putative allies from the Soviet’s (Russia now), Chinese communists, and North Korean dictatorship. One does not envy the Ukraine, which has experienced Russian-backed aggression, and cannot rely on the US or NATO to engage the Russians in case of the latter’s decision to invade directly or by proxies, and take additional parts of the Ukraine. Israel, facing an existential threat from Iran, and its proxies, had to learn long ago that it can only rely on its own army.
The US is certain to lose a great deal of prestige and credibility as a result of the way the Biden administration has abandoned Afghanistan. The US Afghanistan debacle sends a message to the likes of the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah, that they will most certainly internalize; that with patience and resolve they can overcome a liberal democracy. The lessons for America are clear, military force in concert with unmotivated and unreliable allies (the Afghan government and the US trained Afghan army), as well as the unwillingness to sustain rising casualties, made such an adventure untenable. Worse yet, the Biden administration’s rushed exit didn’t score the US points as a superpower.
The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board summarized Biden’s debacle in Afghanistan, writing, “President Biden, 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, Biden sent confirmation of US abandonment that absolved himself of responsibility, and deflected blame to his predecessor, and more or less invited the Taliban to take over the country…The Jihadists the US toppled 20 years ago for sheltering Osama Bin Laden will now fly their flag over the US Embassy building on the 20th anniversary of 9/11.”