And with good reason, I add, “alarmed!” The situation as it is unfolding in Afghanistan is over the top.
Here I hope to touch several bases briefly. As Lawrence Kadish, writing in Gatestone, put it: “The horror of President Joseph Biden’s deliberate retreat from Afghanistan is so immense and its geopolitical impact so severe, we have to fully comprehend the extent of the disaster.”
- The US army, I have learned, left in the middle of the night. How could they have done that??? The Afghanis awoke in the morning and discovered that they were gone.
In a Webinar Thursday night, Dr. Victoria Coates, Director of the Program on the Middle East and North Africa for the Center for Security Policy, advanced the likelihood that this was the point at which the Afghani army decided it was not worth fighting: their support had disappeared. Literally, vanished in the night.
- What is more, the army left before the safety of Americans on the scene could be assured. President Trump, in a brief interview yesterday, said it simply: It’s like a ship captain abandoning a sinking ship before all passengers are safe. The army is not supposed to leave until American civilians are brought out.
Biden then had to reverse himself and send troops back in and rev up efforts to fly out Americans. But there is a catch: Some Americans cannot reach the capital, Kabul, and the airport, because access is controlled by the Taliban (picture is of Taliban fighters in Kabul). Thus, there were reports of planes leaving with seats empty. As of Thursday, there were reports of 10,000 Americans stranded.
- Biden ignored the advice of his military people and other advisers, many of whom wanted to see the modest force of 2,500 troops kept in Afghanistan as a bulwark against a Taliban takeover.
“In insisting on an immediate withdrawal Biden apparently rejected the advice of Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III and Gen. Mark A. Milley, the Chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“…A strong argument was made for not pulling out at all. The objective was to ensure that America was never again attacked by a 9/11 type of terrorist group. To that end, the U.S. had a modest military footprint, like a small insurance premium, in Afghanistan…. The U.S. has, after all, had troops in Germany and South Korea for decades, and no one has been calling for their removal.” (Emphasis added)
(See Gatestone source above)
Biden argued this week that US troops should not be fighting against the Taliban in a war that the Afghanis are not willing to fight for themselves. But see the argument above about ensuring America against terrorist attack. This is about retaining a small US force in Afghanistan for America’s security, a very valid reason for staying in the country. Follow this thought as I discuss consequences.
- Biden did not consult America’s allies, either. In fact, he did not advise them of his intentions. British citizens were caught in the upheaval. The UK has sent in troops and is working to bring some 4,000 British nationals out, along with Afghanis who worked for the UK. British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace broke down when admitting to the BBC that “some people won’t get back” and observing that “it’s sad that the West has done what’s it’s done.”
What is the net effect in the short term?
Many analysts are predicting a return to the terrorist situation of the 1990s. It is certainly what Dr. Mordechai Kedar – an expert in Arab culture, with many years of experience in IDF Intelligence – said when I spoke to him this week.
- The world’s largest and one of the most brutal terror organizations, the Taliban, is now in control of an area roughly the size of Texas. It is in possession of billions of dollars of cutting-edge US military equipment.
The Taliban has become adept at PR, and is selling an image of itself as newly moderated. We are cautioned not to take this at face value. Already, there are reports of the Taliban going door to door and dragging out girls sometimes as young as 12 to make them sex slaves.
Writes director of Jihad Watch Robert Spencer:
“As the Taliban moved into Kabul and demanded the unconditional surrender of the central government, Taliban commander Muhammed Arif Mustafa told CNN: ‘It’s our belief that one day, mujahedin will have victory, and Islamic law will come not to just Afghanistan, but all over the world. We are not in a hurry. We believe it will come one day. Jihad will not end until the last day…
“The CNN ‘journalist’…followed that with ‘It’s a chilling admission from a group that claims it wants peace.’”
- The Taliban in the past provided safe refuge to members of ISIS and Al-Qaida and is expected to do the same again. Afghanistan will serve as the organizational hub of Middle East terrorism:
“The new Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan will now be the center for a resurgent terrorism, a Mecca for terrorists. Terrorists in Europe, now emboldened, will have a command-and-control headquarters to draw on.”
There were thousands of senior Al-Qaida operatives in Afghani prisons who have already been released by the Taliban. I believe this action flies in the face of commitments made by the Taliban; it offers proof positive of their intentions, which are decidedly not moderate.
- “Propaganda messaging by Al-Qaeda has risen dramatically in recent weeks, in line with the takeover of Afghanistan by Taliban fundamentalist forces, an Israeli counter-terrorist expert has warned.
“Michael Barak, a senior researcher at the Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya…told JNS that the Taliban has alliances ‘with several Islamist forces in the Middle East, including Al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria.’”
- One of the most critical effects of the current situation is this: Director of Central Intelligence William Burns also warned [before the fact]…that a withdrawal would forfeit the ability to have human intelligence in the area to pick up what the Taliban, Al-Qaeda or ISIS might be planning in their ongoing assault on the West.
- The United States is now broadly seen as an unreliable ally. Writes retired State Department and Defense Department senior official Debra Cagan:
“They say a nation’s mettle is not just proven by sending its people to war, but what that nation does with its people and allies once it decides that war is over. By any measure President Biden has failed to prove his mettle. This is not just a legacy of short-term broken promises to American diplomats, military and civilians, but an enduring reputation of a weak, unreliable and undependable ally. The costs and repercussions of this botched and catastrophic ‘withdrawal’ goes far beyond Afghanistan, as if that were not horrific enough.
“It goes to the heart of whether any ally, any people who have grown to depend on the United States as a beacon of light in an otherwise blighted landscape, can still have a glimmer of hope that America will have their back. The wise and prudent among them are watching those scenes from Afghanistan and now understand that this administration has no intention of providing anything beyond words, and meaningless words at that.”
- Malign forces in Communist China and Iran are watching closely and see an American weakness that encourages them to take bolder steps.
- The immigration crisis will be exacerbated as thousands flee Afghanistan. What is more, there are warnings from experts already that American’s southern border should be closed immediately because of terrorist-affiliated forces that will make their way to Latin America and then enter the US.
And what should be done down the road?
THIS is the most important question. Dr. Coates, cited above, said that from both sides of the aisle in Congress the question being asked is, what do we do to fix this?
It is a question I will be returning to again and again. Bottom line: an accounting of US values and policies and goals is imperative. (What we would call a heshbon nefesh at a national level.) But it remains to be seen whether the electorate and its Congressional leaders will have the fortitude for any of it.
The United States has been so pathetically embroiled in far-left concerns that it has lost its way. One wonders if there is any chance that this crisis might serve as a wake-up call.
Writes Daniel Greenfield on this very issue:
“’I want to understand white rage, and I’m white,’ Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, whined at a congressional hearing.
“He might have done better to understand Muslim rage.” (Emphasis added)
One good news item here to bring a smile: Magnificent modern mosaics of Israel. Mosaic by Nahum Gutman:
I will put this out now, and return with additional information and analysis on this subject, as well as a great deal regarding Israel.