by Bernard P. Lawson, The Chicago Times
August 24, 2021
WASHINGTON — US President Joe Biden surrendered to Taliban dictates Tuesday by ordering all US military personnel to leave Afghanistan by August 31. Biden believes the challenges of evacuating American citizens and Afghan allies can still be achieved, but only with the “help” of the Taliban. Biden’s unilateral decision is a gut punch to allied leaders who want to give the evacuation more time.
Biden claims the Taliban are cooperating and that security is still in place despite a “handful” of violent incidents. There have been disturbing reports of Taliban abuse of human rights against American citizens and Afghan allies trying to exit the county. Americans have been beaten with rubber belts, have had passport destroyed, and Taliban fighters have threated to kidnap females. There have also been reports of summary executions of Christians. Even after the Aug 31 deadline, there will be thousands of people who fear retaliation from the Taliban.
The Taliban, who reclaimed control of the country nearly 20 years after being ousted in a US-led invasion following the 9/11 attacks, insist the airlift must end on August 31. The Taliban have said they will attack the now surrounded US & Allied military forces and will hold no quarter for survivors.
At the Pentagon, spokesman John Kirby claimed that August 31st provides enough time to evacuate all Americans, but he was less specific about completing the evacuation of all at-risk Afghans that will be left at the mercy of the Taliban and growing ISIS presence.
The Biden administration does not know the true number of Americans wanting to leave the country and may have decided to cut them loose if they do not arrive by the Aug 31 deadline. Some Republicans and Democrats reacted angrily Tuesday to the United States’ apparent compliance with a Taliban edict.
“This is a dereliction of duty on part of the President and top military leaders. We have the capability to rescue all Americans and allies in-country . . . we do not have to be dictated to by the Taliban terrorists. It is clear this administration does not have the political will to use military power to protect our people and allies.” said a source in the Pentagon.
In April, Biden announced the end of the United States’ war in Afghanistan, which began in October 2001. Former President Donald Trump had previously agreed to end the war in May through talks with the Taliban. However, under Trump, American withdrawal depended on conditions being met by the Taliban, which if not met, would have been countered with punitive airstrikes.
Biden, on the other hand, waited until the Taliban had over run the county and the collapse of the US-backed government and its army, before launching an airlift. Biden also disbanded military response teams before evacuating civilians. Biden also abandoned billions of dollars’ worth of weapons to the Taliban. Some of these weapons include Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters. If we have to return, our own weapons will be used against our men and women in uniform. One Pentagon source said “. . . standing operating procedure for a retreating army, yes this is a retreat on orders, is to destroy equipment that is useful to the enemy.”
In an unusual move, CIA director William Burns was dispatched to hold secret talks with Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Kabul. Some sources have indicated a secret agreement or form of tribute was paid to the Taliban to “ensure” the safe passage of US citizens at the expense of sacrificing our Afghan allies. In other words, the Biden administration will leave our Afghan allies to the hands of the Taliban.
U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said she had credible reports of “summary executions” of civilians and former security forces who were no longer fighting, the recruitment of child soldiers, and restrictions on women and girls to move freely and attend school. Some other sources in Afghanistan have reported mass kidnappings of women and girls for use as slaves.
From 1996 until the US-led invasion in 2001, the Taliban confined women to their homes, banned television and music, severed the hands of suspected thieves, and carried out public executions.
Bernard P. Lawson, National Political Reporter/Columnist for The Chicago Times. Views and comments expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the official position of The Chicago Times.