“The Trump administration in February 2020 negotiated a withdrawal agreement with the Taliban that excluded the Afghan government, freed 5,000 imprisoned Taliban soldiers and set a date certain of May 1, 2020, for the final withdrawal.” FactCheck, August 17, 2021. Before playing the blame game, read this document.
June 26, at a rally in Ohio, Trump says, “All the troops are coming back home. They (the Biden administration) couldn’t stop the process." The Taliban from the outset never met the conditions of the agreement relative to continued violence and working with al-Qaeda but the drawdown of troops continued with 2,500 remaining at the end of Trump’s term.
Even Republicans in Congress were warning as far back as November of a Saigon-type situation. Americans, Biden and Trump were eager for this war to end. Biden moved the timeline to August 31. To criticize Biden is to criticize Trump and Pompeo.
Regardless of our politics, most people were shocked at how Biden’s comments on July 8 could be so far from the realities we saw unfold a month later. While claims of incompetence or senility are sadly typical in today’s politics, they contribute nothing to understanding how we got here and learning from our years of miscalculations.
Trump, our allies, Americans remaining in the country ignoring advice to leave as far back as April, Afghan citizens, military and intelligence advisors, even the Taliban did not see events unfolding as they did. No one expected President Ghani to cut and run and the Afghan army to fold like an accordion, especially in Kabul.
So much criticism but so little on what could have been done to avoid the chaos after the OMG moment was realized by Americans still there and Afghans fearful of life under the Taliban.
We grieve for the loss of our soldiers, our heroes doing what they are asked to do. We grieve for all touched by this 20-year war.
The evacuation effort taking place is proof of the greatness of our military. Let this 20-year war be an everlasting testament that war is hell that extends beyond the battlefield and that the military industrial complex must be reined in relative to foreign policy.