Photo by Asmat Kharoti on Unsplash

Afghanistan Has Fallen

The Political Dirt Begins

If there is anything to be learned by two decades of war in Afghanistan it is that the U.S. never learns that invading foreign nations ends up badly for all concerned.

The U.S. has been battling the Taliban in Afghanistan for 20 years and now the U.S. is pulling out and like a phoenix, the Taliban are back, but not really, because they never really left. They are the same Taliban that formed in 1996 after the chaos of the Soviet-Afghan War that ended in the Soviets withdrawing. As a Taliban spokesman said famously many years ago, the U.S. may have all of the clocks but the Taliban has all of the time.

We didn’t invade to protect women’s rights or pluralism or to institute democracy, we are not the cultural policemen of the world. The U.S. had one goal, to destroy al-Qaeda in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and prevent the country from being used as a terrorist base. That was accomplished within months of the U.S. invasion and that is when the U.S. should have left but the wishful, liberal nation builders got in the way.

It seems painfully clear that the Taliban, fueled by religious zealotry, were not going to be defeated, whether it took 20 years or 30 years or 40 years. Yet it is inexplicable why it is so excruciatingly difficult for our leaders to understand the utter futility that seem crystal clear to us novices. As a nation, we have continued to make bad decisions and neither party has a corner on bad moves. The U.S. could not gradually withdraw because that would only lead to an eventual increase in forces, as under President Obama. We are either there or we are not, you can’t be a little pregnant.

“One more year, or five more years, of U.S. military presence would not have made a difference if the Afghan military cannot or will not hold its own country,” Biden said. “And an endless American presence in the middle of another country’s civil conflict was not acceptable to me.

“The idea of us being able to use our armed forces to solve every single internal problem that exists in the world is just not within our capacity,” Biden said. “The question is, is America’s vital self-interest at stake or the self-interest of one of our allies at stake?”

However painful, Biden is right.

The decision to withdraw U.S. troops was made last year after trump, the great deal maker, made a deal to withdraw all U.S. troops by May 2021 in exchange for security guarantees. Trump said the U.S. would negotiate with the Taliban and not with the Afghan government which turned out to be a very bad and very typically trumpian decision. Biden then extended the deadline to Aug. 31.

To trace the trajectory of the withdrawal, just look back on former president trump’s policy, fueled as it was, by politics, like all of his poisonous policies. It is no less than gobsmacking how all things rotten lead back to trump and his self-righteous, hypocritical, sycophants who are salivating over blaming Biden for the fall of Afghanistan.

Never to miss a chance to insult, Trump today called on Biden to “resign in disgrace for what he has allowed to happen to Afghanistan.” But that doesn’t jibe with what Trump tweeted on Oct. 7, “We should have all the remaining number of our BRAVE Men and Women serving in Afghanistan home by Christmas!”

After Biden announced plans in April to withdraw U.S. troops, this was the reaction from Bone Spurs, who was no longer in office, though he clings to his fantasy that he is the rightful and only heir to the national throne.

“Getting out of Afghanistan is a wonderful and positive thing to do. I planned to withdraw on May 1st, and we should keep as close to that schedule as possible,” trump said.

And today, tweeted “ICYMI (In Case You Missed It): ‘President Biden will own the fall of Kabul — when the real killing begins.’”

“What Joe Biden has done with Afghanistan is legendary. It will go down as one of the greatest defeats in American history!” trump said. Just when you thought there was no more gall to be gotten we see the latest unmitigated gall by the master of gall.

It must have slipped the mind of the man with bad hair that after he had said the U.S. would withdraw from Afghanistan by last Christmas, a spokesman for the Taliban said it was “a positive step” towards ending the war. Positive for the Taliban but not for those who opposed the Taliban.

We are a culture where we see things in black and white, right and wrong, winners or losers and that is why it is so simple for corrupt politicians to claim to have the answers. And like cockroaches, the enemy is quickly gathering to blame Biden.

“The Biden administration owns this because they have taken the Trump administration conditions-based approach and replaced it with a determination to leave no matter what the circumstances are on the ground,” said Nathan Sales, the State Department counter-terrorism coordinator under trump. The only condition under the trump plan was that the Taliban promise, cross their hearts and hope to die and be struck by lightning if they did anything not nice to the Afghan people.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., one of trump’s bigger supporters, had been behind trump’s plan to pull out the troops but mysteriously called Biden’s decision to withdraw, “dumber than dirt and devilishly dangerous.”

House Minority Whip, Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., has continually questioned the legitimacy of Biden’s election and has refused to blame trump for the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol and consistently supported a president who rejected his own intelligence community. Scalise has a little credibility problem when he said, “This is President Biden’s Saigon moment and unfortunately it was very predictable. It seems like many in President Biden’s intelligence community got this devastatingly wrong.”

Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla., the same state that brings us Gov. Ron (Burn the Mask and Damn the Virus) DeSantis, said the withdrawal of troops will make it very hard to gain the trust of our allies in event of another conflict.

With undoubtedly honest, effusive and very nearly overwhelming emotion, Waltz said the situation in Afghanistan was “heartbreaking and infuriating.” Waltz was a plaintiff in a losing Texas lawsuit to overturn Biden’s victory and Waltz voted against forming a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 uprising, saying “the president loves this country. He doesn’t want violence.”

And for what it’s worth, the United Kingdom’s defense minister blamed trump for the Afghanistan crisis, saying “the die was cast” when Trump negotiated a peace deal with the Taliban, excluding the Afghan government.

The real victims are the people of Afghanistan who will again be under the vile and unforgiving thumb of the Taliban. The Taliban ruled for five years under the strict Sharia system of law which forbid pork and alcohol along with many types of consumer technology such as music, television and film, as well as most forms of art such as paintings or photography. Men and women could not compete in sports, including football and chess; kite-flying and keeping pigeons or other pets were forbidden; movie theaters were closed and converted into mosques; taking photographs and displaying pictures or portraits was forbidden as a form of idolatry; women were banned from working and girls could not attend schools or universities; women and girls couldn’t leave their homes without a male relative; and thieves were punished by amputating their hands or feet.

On an international front, the Taliban weren’t terribly popular. Between 1996 and 2001, only Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates recognized the Taliban as a legitimate government.



Journalist for 40 years and now a creative writer

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