ANALYSIS – With President Joe Biden’s total withdrawal from Afghanistan by September 11, most experts and the intelligence predict a rapid collapse of Afghan military forces and the democratic government in Kabul. A recent intelligence assessment says it could come as soon as in six months.
Some are comparing Biden’s ill-conceived decision to former President Barack Obama’s equally reckless, and politically motivated, decision to pull out of Iraq in 2011, which helped create the conditions for the rapid rise of the brutal Islamic State (ISIS).
But the collapse of South Vietnam after a Democrat congress ended all U.S. support to our democratic ally in Saigon, allowing a massive North Vietnamese invasion, also holds very close parallels.
Since Biden announced his unilateral and unconditional withdrawal plans in mid-April, the Taliban have made significant territorial gains, notes a United Nations official, capturing more than 50 of 370 Afghan districts since the beginning of May alone.
Biden made this decision with almost no consultation with his military leadership, or with our NATO allies who were caught by surprise and have been scrambling to remove their troops from Afghanistan before the last U.S. forces withdraw.
The effects of this momentously flawed decision will likely haunt Biden, and Democrats for years. And Republicans are prepared to benefit.
As Politico reports:
President Joe Biden’s self-imposed Sept. 11 deadline to unconditionally withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan is nearly three months away, but the political and humanitarian fallout from his decision is already rattling his administration.
In recent days, the U.S. has completed more than half the troop withdrawal, and the Taliban have seized dozens of Afghan districts amid warnings that the government in Kabul could fall in a matter of months once the U.S. leaves. Military leaders also are warning that terrorist groups such as al-Qaida could regroup in Afghanistan within two years.
U.S. lawmakers, even those who support withdrawing, are demanding that Biden protect Afghans who helped the U.S. in the two-decade war, and the Biden administration is now hurriedly unrolling an evacuation plan for those Afghans. On Friday, Afghanistan’s president will visit the White House, where he has an opportunity to ask Biden to rethink his approach.
Biden risks being seen as the president who lost Afghanistan — and Republicans know it.
Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said according to Politico:
This may be the ‘Saigon moment’ where you’ve got the helicopter leaving and that’s what everybody associates with [Biden’s] policy. It’s eerily similar [to Iraq]. We withdrew from Iraq on a politically motivated timeline to fulfill a campaign promise, and then we have chaos on the ground, a caliphate emerges.
From the moment some dumb White House staffer decided we’re going to make 9/11 the date and thereby give the Taliban this propaganda victory in addition to surrendering territory, is the moment we realized this was a political effort, not a serious geopolitical effort.
Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, predicted that the U.S. Embassy in Kabul could fall, too. “The crown jewel is going to be the embassy at the end,” reports Politico.
But even some Democrats are complaining about Biden’s impetuous decision. Fearing the Taliban wiping out two decades of gains for women and girls in Afghanistan, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), said of her concerns about the rights of women and girls in the country: “That’s why I was disappointed in the decision to withdraw as rapidly as the president suggested. ADN