Biden’s debacle in Afghanistan

Posted: July 6, 2021 by chrisharper in Uncomfortable Truths
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By Christopher Harper

The Biden administration’s pullout of the U.S. military from Afghanistan is deployable and disheartening.

After 20 years in the country, the United States left Afghanistan’s Bagram Airfield by shutting off the electricity and slipping away in the night without notifying the base’s new Afghan commander, the Associated Press reported.

“We (heard) some rumor that the Americans had left Bagram … and finally by seven o’clock in the morning, we understood that it was confirmed that they had already left Bagram,” Gen. Mir Asadullah Kohistani, Bagram’s new commander, told the AP.

Before the Afghan army could take control of the airfield, which lies about an hour’s drive from the Afghan capital of Kabul, it was invaded by a small army of looters, who ransacked barrack after barrack and rummaged through giant storage tents before being evicted, according to local military officials.

The sprawling air base was at the center of America’s war to unseat the Taliban and hunt down the al-Qaida planners of the 9/11 attacks on America.

Used by the U.S. and NATO forces, Bagram includes two runways and more than 100 parking slots for fighter jets known as revetments because of the blast walls that protect each aircraft. The base also consists of a prison with about 5,000 prisoners, many of them from the Taliban.

The U.S. forces reportedly left behind thousands of civilian vehicles, many of them without keys to start them. The departing troops took heavy weapons and blew up ammunition on the base.

The military did leave tens of thousands of bottles of water, energy drinks, and military ready-made meals, known as MREs, which will prove of little use in the fight against the Taliban.

The AP spoke with Afghan soldiers at the base that had once seen as many as 100,000 U.S. troops. The Afghans criticized how the United States left Bagram, escaping in the night without telling the Afghan soldiers who patrol the perimeter.

“In one night, they lost all the goodwill of 20 years by leaving the way they did, in the night, without telling the Afghan soldiers who were outside patrolling the area,” said one Afghan soldier.

Biden plans to pull out all U.S. troops by August, leaving a vacuum that will almost certainly lead to the Taliban taking power once again.

In northern Afghanistan, for example, district after district has fallen to the Taliban, and most analysts think the group will retake the country.
Although I concede that the United States stayed too long in Afghanistan, the departure of troops under the cover of darkness sends a clear signal to allies that the United States can no longer be trusted.

  1. Pod Hamp says:

    Well, we have seen this coming for the last twenty years. Unfortunately, Pres. Bush the Younger went into Afghanistan with no idea of where it was going to go in the future. All he seemed to care about was revenge for 9/11. At the time, I too was all in on punishing the Taliban and Al Queda. Pres. Obama went two terms ignoring Afghanistan and letting the Pentagon do their thing, again with no end in sight. Pres. Trump, to his credit, started questioning the Pentagon about it as he could see that it was an open-ended obligation forever the way it was going. Pres. Biden has ended up completing what Trump initiated. The way it is being handled could – and probably should – be criticized, but this is what was going to happen eventually regardless.

    I hope that we, as a nation, have cured ourselves of the idea that we can and should nation-build and act as global cop. Especially in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria where we are plopping ourselves into millennia of dysfunction halfway around the world. But as a cynic, I have a feeling that we will be back at it in a few years.

    As a country, we have forgotten that the goal of war is to win. To do that you have to be brutal to an extent that we don’t seem to have the stomach for these days. The last war that the U.S “won” was won using brutality (Hiroshima, Dresden) to utterly destroy the ability and will to resist any further. Even in the Civil War, Sherman, in his march to the sea, knew he had to destroy the South’s ability and will to continue to fight. That is why the U.S. should stay out of conflicts – we are too fond of “police actions” and “proportionate responses”.

    As a counterpoint to your last paragraph about the Taliban takeover, the folks at Strategy Page have a more optimistic take on it. What will actually happen, only time will tell.