US policy under fire as Taliban take control of Afghanistan
The sudden capture of Kabul by the Taliban after a lightning offensive has sparked strong criticism of US policy in Afghanistan from allies and adversaries alike.
US President Joe Biden defended the US military withdrawal on August 16, blaming the Taliban’s takeover of the Afghan government and saying it was in the US national interest to end the most long American war.
While conceding the Taliban took control faster than he expected as the Afghan military crumbled, Biden insisted there was never a good time to withdraw the American forces.
“Our mission in Afghanistan was never meant to have been nation building,” Biden said in a nationwide address from the White House. “After 20 years, I have learned the hard way that there is never a good time to withdraw American forces.”
Biden said Afghan political leaders gave up and the Afghan military crumbled, sometimes without trying to fight back.
“In fact, developments over the past week have reinforced that ending US military involvement in Afghanistan was now the right decision,” Biden said. “American troops cannot and should not fight a war and die in a war that Afghan forces are unwilling to fight for themselves.”
Many disagree with Biden’s decision amid allegations of poor planning that has led to chaotic scenes at Kabul airport as the US military and its allies attempt to evacuate their nationals and Afghans who worked alongside international forces.
In Washington, the president faces growing criticism, particularly from Republicans in Congress, with critics saying the United States’ reputation as a world power has been badly tarnished.
Rep. Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Relations Committee, told CNN Aug. 15 that the situation in Afghanistan is “an absolute disaster of epic proportions” and that Biden will have “blood on his hands.” “.
“We’re going back to a pre-9/11 state. A breeding ground for terrorism,” McCaul said.
In another interview with NBC, he said that the United States’ global standing “has been greatly diminished because of this disaster.”
Criticism has also poured in from the international community, including Washington’s allies who have participated in NATO’s mission in Afghanistan for the past two decades.
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, whose army has been involved for years in combat operations against the Taliban, said the West’s intervention was only a job half done. The former British Army officer argued that the 20-year-long intervention by US-led forces ‘was not a waste’, but he accused Western powers of being short-sighted when it comes to of politics.
“If it’s a failure, it’s a failure of the international community not to realize that you don’t fix things overnight,” he told the BBC, citing “a failure to recognize that military power alone” could not completely resolve the situation. in Afghanistan.
“Half the mission alone…was entirely successful,” he said, pointing to the Taliban withdrawal following the September 11, 2001 attacks and the death of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who he says made the world a safer place.
But “that doesn’t mean the next 20 years will be the same,” Wallace added, echoing concerns about the impact of the hardline group’s resurgence on global security.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, speaking at an August 16 meeting with the leadership of her CDU-CSU party, said NATO’s decision to withdraw after nearly two decades of deployment had been “in ultimately taken by the Americans” and that “domestic political reasons” were partly blamed. Germany must urgently evacuate up to 10,000 people from Afghanistan for which it is responsible, Merkel said.
CDU leader Armin Laschet, who is the party’s candidate to succeed Merkel as chancellor in September’s election, called the withdrawal of Western troops from Afghanistan the “biggest debacle” NATO has suffered since its founding in 1949.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Secretary of State Antony Blinken on August 16 that the “precipitous withdrawal” of US troops from Afghanistan had a “serious negative impact”, but pledged to work with Washington to promote stability in the country.
Much has changed in the two decades since the Taliban was toppled by the US-led invasion that toppled the Taliban nearly 20 years ago, and some analysts have expressed concern about the gains in areas such as women’s rights and the rights of the minority group Hazaras, are rapidly disappearing.