With Its Tail between Its Legs

Democrat Joe Biden will go down in history as the U.S. president who managed the feat of running away while Afghanistan was thrown back into the hole it was in 20 years ago. In anticipating withdrawal from a country that returned to Taliban control, the Democratic president displayed military cowardice, and moreover, a lack of commitment to the future of Afghans, now thrown to the wolves. Or rather, to Islamic fundamentalist insurgents who oppress women, and to terrorists who blow themselves up among innocent people.

By abandoning Afghanistan to the Taliban and the group known as Islamic State Khorasan, the U.S. fed its own enemy. After spending $2 trillion and three administrations in the White House (the Republican administrations of George W. Bush and Donald Trump and the Democratic administration of Barack Obama), the U.S. did not count on the status quo returning to what it was before 2001. Nor did it bet on the resilience of the Taliban, on their capacity to blend in with population, and on the support of warlords and Pashtun tribal leaders in the militia’s advance.

Forced to abandon Kabul after a suicide bombing that killed 170 people (including 13 American soldiers) and the increasingly volatile security situation at the Hamid Karzai International Airport, the United States conveyed an image of weakness to the world. The greatest military power on the planet found itself forced to leave Afghanistan with its tail between its legs.

After 7,267 days of occupation in the midst of an economy engulfed by misery and eaten away by the corruption of White House-sponsored puppets, the U.S. is making room for the terrorist network al-Qaida and other extremist groups that will sustain themselves on Taliban radicalism and find shelter in Afghanistan. Most emblematic is the fact that the Taliban’s return to power occurred just 27 days before the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks — the trigger for the war. Osama bin Laden died, but al-Qaida is still alive and anti-Americanism is growing stronger in Muslim countries.

The outcome of the occupation of Afghanistan is tragic and shameful. What will Biden say to the parents of 2,448 American soldiers and 3,846 compatriots hired by the U.S. to support military forces in the Asian country? In 20 years of war, 66,000 Afghan police officers and soldiers, along with almost 50,000 civilians died in combat and in attacks. Wasted, disposable lives. The lesson left by the strategic fiasco of Afghanistan is that the bellicose hegemony of the United States has yielded to a botched occupation strategy, — a legacy that will haunt Biden throughout history.

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