The U.S. may be sending troops to safeguard the retreat from Kabul, but that has not stopped the steady march of the Taliban toward its objective, all of Afghanistan. Liberty Nation continues to report on the evolving events in Afghanistan. But unfortunately, what is happening is the devolving of what the U.S. had hoped would be the birth of a country that could take its place among other developing nations with the personal freedoms that others enjoy.
However, that does not appear to be Afghanistan’s future. The Taliban is at the gates of Kabul, and most observers believe it is only a matter of a few weeks or possibly days before the Taliban has taken over Afghanistan.
According to reporting by Fox News, “The Taliban seized two more provinces on Saturday and approached the outskirts of Afghanistan’s capital while also launching a multi-pronged assault on a major northern city defended by former warlords, Afghan officials said.” The jihadist terrorists are rapidly pulling the noose tighter around the Kabul government’s neck. Nervous (and they should be) Afghan government officials are desperately seeking some resolution to the ever-diminishing bulwark of safety against the danger posed by the hardline militant Islamists. Reuters reports from Kabul the morning of August 14:
“Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani held urgent talks with local leaders and international partners on Saturday as Taliban rebels pushed closer to Kabul, capturing a town south of the capital that is one of the gateways to the city. The United States and other countries rushed in troops to help evacuate their embassies after the militants captured town after town as the U.S. and other foreign forces who have backed the government withdrew. Many Afghans have fled to Kabul, driven out by fighting and fearful of a return to hardline Islamist rule.”
Despite the apparent hopelessness of the situation, Aljazeera’s Ali M. Latifi reports that the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in a “pre-recorded” address said, “‘ We have held extensive consultations with everyone within the government and international partners … Consultations are ongoing, and the results will be shared soon,’ the president said on Saturday [August 14, 2021].” Ghani went on to say, “remobilizing the Afghan National Security Forces was a ‘top priority, and he would find ways to help the thousands of people displaced by the fighting across the country.” One cannot help but be reminded of the old bromide about closing “the barn door after the horse has bolted.”
While Ghani is attempting to build the spirits of people left in the shrinking area around Kabul, some in his government are taking time to blame others – a sure sign of desperation. The Financial Times reported what Afghan officials were saying: “The government has blamed the Taliban’s success on neighboring Pakistan, which has for decades been accused of quietly providing shelter and assistance to the Islamists even while pledging to support the U.S.” Blaming Pakistan may soothe the ego for a moment but does nothing to solve the precarious position in which Ghani’s government finds itself.
Regardless of President Ghani’s resolve, the world around him is looking bleak. A tweet from National Public Radio’s Tom Bowman painted a more bleak portrait of the situation on the ground around Kabul. Bowman said, “The situation at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul is more dire than what the State Department is saying. Mail has stopped. Nearly all employees are packing up, and a very small number will head to another location. Staff are gearing up to destroy sensitive papers, computers, phones.”
When it comes to assigning blame, the Afghans are not alone. In a Fox News interview, Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) did not mince words in laying out what she called “This rapid and haphazard withdrawal of American Troops – before we knew that our embassy would be safe, before we had our Afghan interpreters and other friends out of Afghanistan, to allow it to fall like this without any sort of plan or recourse, it is shameful… This is a very grim reality, not just for the United States but for so many of our partners around the world to see Afghanistan fall like this. It is all on President Biden’s shoulders… Other violent extremists are reconstituting in Taliban-controlled areas.”
As for the U.S. President reassuring the American people that he is in control and managing the American “plan” to bring troops out of Afghanistan and protect the remnant of U.S. citizens left, Biden has been silent. Others have not. The Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) expressed his views on Biden’s policy in Afghanistan and what remedy there might be. Fox News reports,
“McConnell and other GOP figures have accused the Biden administration of botching a planned withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan in recent days. In a scathing statement, the Kentucky senator said the situation in Afghanistan was a debacle that was prompting a humanitarian crisis. ‘With that said, it is not too late to prevent the Taliban from overrunning Kabul,’ McConnell said in a statement. ‘The Administration should move quickly to hammer Taliban advances with airstrikes, provide critical support to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) defending the capital, and prevent the seemingly imminent fall of the city.'”
As the noose tightens on Kabul, the U.S. president’s position, tragically, is best summed up in a Politico headline, “Biden on Afghanistan: Not my problem.” But unfortunately, that sentiment is unlikely to resonate across the American heartland.
The views expressed are those of the author and not of any other affiliation.
Read more from Dave Patterson.