The last few days of the American presence in Kabul end in a bloodbath. The double attack on the airport symbolizes the humiliating defeat of the United States.
The American withdrawal looked like a debacle. It turned into a nightmare. First, for the thousands of Afghans who crowded in front of the fortified wall of the airport, hoping to be among the last “chosen few” evacuated by the Westerners. Two bombs exploded in the middle of this crowd of men, women and children caught up in the Afghan chaos they wanted to escape.
This double attack is also a tragedy for Afghans who wanted to believe that the withdrawal of foreign troops and the victory of the Taliban marked the end of the civil war that has ravaged the country for over 40 years. The Taliban, who pride themselves on maintaining order and security, are being challenged as they try to emerge as a movement capable of governing the country, normalizing relations with the international community and fighting terrorists targeting U.S. interests. These attacks tarnish their victory.
Finally, this carnage will taint Joe Biden’s presidency for a long time. The images of the American army entrenched in the Kabul airport and having to submit to the conditions of the Taliban were already humiliating for America; they are now damning.
Obsessed with his promise to bring the last Marines “home” before the anniversary of 9/11, this president, who was said to be experienced, stable and professional, has not been able to manage a withdrawal that was announced months ago. The United States went to Afghanistan to eradicate terrorism and avenge the 2001 attacks; 20 years later, the world’s leading military power is retreating under fire from the jihadists of the Islamic State. The coffins of American soldiers soon to be repatriated from Kabul will symbolize the fiasco of this military operation.