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Afghanistan: ‘America will pay a price for years to come,’ say experts

CM 16/08/2021


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WASHINGTON – The chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan cast a shadow over the Biden administration’s foreign policy. The fact that the Taliban easily drove through Kabul to recapture the presidential palace is a blow for the administrations’ assessment.
On July 8, he was asked whether he believed that the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan was inevitable.
“No, it is not,” the President said. “The Afghan troops have 300,000 well-equipped — as well-equipped as any army in the world — and an air force against something like 75,000 Taliban.  It is not inevitable.”

“Do I trust the Taliban?  No,” Biden continued. “But I trust the capacity of the Afghan military, who is better trained, better equipped, and more competent in terms of conducting war.” It turned out to be yet another miscalculation by the US in Afghanistan. How didn’t the US see this coming?  What could be the regional implications of the withdrawal?
Simon Henderson is the Baker fellow and director of the Bernstein Program on Gulf and Energy Policy at The Washington Institute. He told the Jerusalem Post that the White House didn’t see this coming, “but the intelligence community almost certainly did.”
“President Biden seems to have seen the withdrawal as important to his political reputation. Perhaps, but he has made a huge mistake for the reputation of the United States,” said Henderson. “We will have to wait for leaks about which of his advisors suggested caution and who encouraged him.”
“The news and images so far suggest considerable damage to the moral leadership of the US in the world,” Henderson continued. “The decision to withdraw after twenty years was at least explicable. The implementation has been a disaster.”
Michael O’Hanlon is a senior fellow, and director of research, in Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution, where he specializes in US defense strategy, the use of military force, and American national security policy. “Some did see it coming,” he told the Post. “But President Biden decided it was ok to run this risk.”
“I disagree with him strongly, and yet suspect that the damage for broader US foreign policy will be limited,” said O’Hanlon. “This was a special case.”
Jonathan Schanzer, Senior Vice President at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, noted that there is a significant disconnect between policymakers and the military here, to say nothing of intelligence. “Anyone with their eyes open could see this outcome coming from a mile away,” said Schanzer. “But the political leadership wanted their withdrawal. This is a sign of poor inter-agency coordination, to put it mildly. To put it more bluntly, this is policy malpractice that was preventable. It will cost thousands of lives.”
“America will pay a price for this botched withdrawal for years to come,” Schanzer continued. “The resurgence of the Taliban will have an impact on the global jihadist movement, which is now energized. The perception of a feckless America will embolden revisionist powers like China and Russia. Meanwhile, America’s allies in the Middle East are watching nervously, wondering when the next withdrawal may take place, and whether that will leave them more exposed. This will prompt consideration of new alliance structures.”
John Hannah, a senior fellow at JINSA and former US official, said that as soon as President Biden announced last spring that US troops were abandoning Afghanistan, the final chapter that we’re watching unfold of a complete Taliban takeover was written.”
“Almost everyone inside the US government who studied Afghanistan closely understood this was coming if the US military very rapidly withdrew all support for the Afghan security forces, especially close air support and logistics,” Hannah said. “I don’t believe this was a major intelligence failure by the US military and intelligence agencies. They fully understood this could happen. It was purely a political decision by President Biden to ignore these warnings.”
“Biden has considered Afghanistan a lost cause and drain on US resources for more than a decade,” he continued. “He saw in former President Trump’s commitment to have all US troops out by May 1, which he inherited, as a unique opportunity to fulfill his long-standing desire to end America’s military involvement in Afghanistan and he jumped on it.”
“Biden made a conscious decision to accept that risk and the potential damage it could inflict on American foreign policy, as well as on his political support in the United States,” said Hannah. “He likely believes that while the majority of the American people will feel badly about the horrors that now await the Afghan people, they will ultimately be supportive of the decision to finally end this forever war and stop pouring more US blood and treasure into what they consider a lost cause.”
He went on to say that “the total collapse of Afghanistan and return of the Taliban is a foreign policy disaster for the United States.”
“The risk of Islamist terrorism will very likely increase, not just against governments throughout the Muslim world, but against the West as well,” he said. “American adversaries in places like Iran, Russia, and China will be emboldened by the US defeat and humiliation and will seek to take advantage by filling the perceived vacuum of US leadership. American allies in the Middle East and around the world, who have hitched their own deterrence and security to US power and credibility, will shudder in concern and fear over what America’s abandonment of its long-standing allies in Afghanistan means for them.”

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CM

The host of Coffee Mouth Scare Crow Show and CEO of 452 Impact, Inc. Here is food for thought. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." John 3:16 "For God so love ed the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall be saved."

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