Friday, June 14, 2024

Biden’s cool reaction to fall of Afghanistan will have far-reaching impacts

WASHINGTON: (Monitoring Desk) We were among those who believed that President Biden’s decision in April to remove all US troops from Afghanistan by September would be disastrous for the country’s 38 million people, particularly its women, according to the Washington Post.

That tragedy now appears to be unfolding faster than even many pessimists predicted. In a statewide onslaught in recent weeks, Taliban troops have taken control of dozens of districts, encircling some provincial capitals and barring major arteries into Kabul. Gen. Austin S. Miller, the top American military commander in Afghanistan, spoke with media on Tuesday and cautioned that “civil war is clearly a road that can be envisaged,” adding, “That should be a worry for the world.”

At the very least, it should be a source of concern for Vice President Joe Biden, who inherited a terrible situation from President Donald Trump but opted to end the US operation rather than improve it. In view of the impending collapse of an Afghan government and army that the US spent two decades helping to construct, the president should reconsider the hasty pullout he ordered.

Rather, he has been indifferent to the country’s situation. According to the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Biden chose last month not to delay the removal from Bagram, the country’s primary US air station, which some US officials favored; the removal was completed this week. He visited with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the White House last Friday in what was portrayed as a gesture of support, only to say that Afghans must “make the decision their future.”

If current patterns continue, that future is likely to be grim. Afghan army battalions are being cleaned out by the Taliban or leaving without a fight as US commanders and air support fade away.

Mr. Biden has long been a septic of the US mission in Afghanistan, and he has maintained that position despite significant reductions in the number of troops and spending. The battle against the Taliban, he believes, is both pointless and unwinnable. However, the road from stalemate to defeat could be long and arduous. We’re not sure if he’s completely studied the implications.