President Joe Biden ignored warnings from top generals and the Pentagon and proceeded with an immediate withdrawal of U.S. military troops from Afghanistan. The ill-advised decision left thousands in harm’s way and ushered in the precipitous fall of the nation to the Taliban after nearly two decades of war.
The military advice given to President Biden was detailed in a Wall Street Journal article following his Monday speech on the Afghanistan withdrawal. It is an indictment of the Commander-in-Chief’s decision and shows that the horrific aftermath is due to Biden’s failure to properly assess the risks of an immediate military withdrawal.
“The president’s top generals, including Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark Milley, urged Mr. Biden to keep a force of about 2,500 troops, the size he inherited, while seeking a peace agreement between warring Afghan factions, to help maintain stability,” the Wall Street Journal reported. “Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who previously served as a military commander in the region, said a full withdrawal wouldn’t provide any insurance against instability.”
“In a series of meetings leading up to his decision, military and intelligence officials told Mr. Biden that security was deteriorating in Afghanistan, and they expressed concerns both about the capabilities of the Afghan military and the Taliban’s likely ability to take over major Afghan cities,” the report continued.
“Other advisers, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan, raised the possibility of Taliban attacks on U.S. forces and diplomats as well as the Afghans who for two decades worked alongside them,” the report added. “Ultimately, neither disagreed with the president, knowing where he stood.”
In the aftermath of Biden’s decision, the Taliban have gone on a terrifying spree of reprisals, wreaking carnage against innocent women, abducting children to become sex slaves for their fighters, and exacting vengeance against those who may have cooperated in the occupation, including hangings and beheadings.
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Images from Kabul International Airport are among the most haunting witnessed by Americans since civilians jumped to their deaths to avoid a fiery end during the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Civilians desperately clung to C-17 transport planes headed out of the collapsing capital, frantic to avoid the Taliban’s deadly wrath. Photographs and video of civilians falling from planes departing from the country and even clinging to it in mid-flight speak volumes about the lack of foresight to withdrawal the military before properly evacuating civilians.
Beyond the tragic human cost, the Biden administration failed to secure billions’ worth of military equipment, including Black Hawk military helicopters, advanced drones, missiles, and firearms. The scale of the military failure is difficult to exaggerate; it is one of the worst military failures in U.S. history, and one of the biggest humiliations on the world stage since the Fall of Saigon.
The Washington Post provided further insight into how the Biden order to withdraw military troops unfolded, culminating in the terrible events this weekend.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken testified to the House Foreign Affairs Committee in June that he did not expect an “immediate deterioration in the situation” if U.S. troops withdrew, the publication notes.
“Whatever happens in Afghanistan, if there is a significant deterioration in security — that could well happen, we have discussed this before — I don’t think it’s going to be something that happens from a Friday to a Monday,” Blinken said.
However, that is almost precisely what happened. President Biden then conceded that his withdrawal did not go the way that he had foreseen.
“The truth is, this did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated,” Biden continued. “So what’s happened? Afghanistan political leaders gave up and fled the country. The Afghan military collapsed, sometimes without trying to fight.”
Yet that doesn’t encompass the avoidable humanitarian crisis that ensued, nor the failure to secure military equipment, which not only arms ruthless terrorists with some of the most advanced weaponry in the world, but provides a boon to hostile enemies’ military intelligence.
On Tuesday night, former President Donald Trump, who had begun the military drawdown in Afghanistan, explained how he would have done things differently if he were still Commander-in-Chief.
“Think of this, we have a military that’s holding [Afghanistan],” Trump said. “I had it reduced down to 2,500 soldiers and they were doing a good job. It was fine. It was a smaller force. I took it down from close to twenty (thousand) to 2,500. And we were fine.”
“But we have the military there, and we take the military out before we took our civilians out,” Trump pointed out. “And before we took the interpreters and others — we want to try to help them.”
“By the way, I’m America First,” Trump said. “Okay? The Americans come out first. But we’re also going to help people that helped us. And we have to be very careful with the vetting, because you’ve got some rough people in there. But, we’re going to help those people.”
“But, can you imagine?” Trump said. “Now, what we were going to do, very quickly, is we were going to take the military out last. Okay? Last. The people were coming out, they were going to come out, but the agreement was violated, so I held things back, because we weren’t going to do anything. Again, conditions based.”
“So, they weren’t fulfilling their obligations and conditions,” Trump added.
“Just to finish,” he went on. “The people come out first, then I was going to take all of the military equipment. Billions and billions of dollars worth of Black Hawk helicopters, brand new, that Russia now will be examining anjd so will China and so will everybody else, because it’s the greatest in the world.”
“We have brand new Army tanks, and all sorts of equipment, missiles, we have everything,” he continued. “I was going to take it out. Because I knew they weren’t going to fight.”
Donald Trump then remarked on why he believed the Afghan army didn’t put up a better fight.
“They were doing it for a paycheck, because once we stopped, once we left, they stopped fighting,” Trump said.
“It’s a great thing that we’re getting out,” he concluded. “But nobody has ever handled a withdrawal worse than Joe Biden. This is the greatest embarrassment, I believe, in the history of our country.”
The sitting president’s decision is sure to haunt him the rest of his presidency. When combined with his disastrous handling of the southern border crisis, the Afghanistan withdrawal will prove to be another demonstration that Biden’s legacy will be one of failure.