Afghanistan withdrawal, 1 year later: Taliban takeover of Kabul that President Biden never saw coming

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A year ago today, Islamic fundamentalist Taliban After the collapse of the country’s elected government, the capital of Afghanistan moved to Kabul. The last member of the US military left 15 days later, capping nearly 20 tumultuous years of US involvement in the Central Asian country.

It started after the Taliban gave shelter to Al Qaeda and their leader Osama Bin Laden – Perpetrators of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The withdrawal, meanwhile, fulfills President Biden’s announcement in April last year that all US troops and personnel would leave Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

After capturing territory throughout Afghanistan, the Taliban recaptured Kabul, and according to many observers, this is not surprising.

“The Taliban were widely expected to take over the country after the US withdrawal, despite claims to the contrary by US officials,” said Bill Roggio, an Afghanistan expert and senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD). Fox News Digital. “I said publicly in the spring that the Afghan government would be lucky to succeed in the summer. I studied the Taliban’s military operations and how they took advantage of the weaknesses of the Afghan government and military. Without US support, collapse was inevitable.”

The Taliban take over Afghanistan: What we know and what’s next

On 15 August 2021, Taliban fighters took control of the Afghan presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country. (AP Photo/Jabi Karimi, File)

Roggio, editor of the acclaimed Long War Journal, recently Published maps It shows how quickly the Taliban swooped in and took over the country after Biden’s announcement.

“I believe that the US would have withdrawn from Afghanistan and left behind a viable Afghan government, even if it could not rule the entire country.” Roggio added. “Withdrawal, as effected by Biden administrationCompletely pulled the rug out from the Afghan government and military.”

He said Afghanistan’s decision-makers never believed America would leave so quickly.

“The U.S. needed to slowly withdraw and help the Afghan military develop the capacity to support itself over time,” Roggio said. “The Afghan government would have had to take drastic decisions like abandoning much of the south and east. Biden’s withdrawal gave the Afghan government and military no fighting chance.”

In announcing his plans to withdraw, Biden said he inherited the Trump administration’s withdrawal agreement, but said he would honor it, despite some reservations.

Biden announced Sept. 11 Afghanistan withdrawal deadline, troops ‘time to come home’

“It’s probably not something I would have negotiated myself, but it was an agreement made by the United States government, and that means something,” Biden said. “Therefore, in accordance with that agreement and in accordance with our national interests, the United States will begin our final withdrawal — beginning May 1 of this year.”

Biden, who did not foresee the fall of the Afghan government in August due to the US withdrawal, vowed: “We will not rush to withdraw. We will do it responsibly, deliberately and safely. And we will do it in full coordination with our allies and partners, who now have more troops in Afghanistan than we do.”

President Joe Biden speaks from the White House about the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan on April 14, 2021.

President Joe Biden speaks from the White House about the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan on April 14, 2021.
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnick, Poole)

Still, for some Afghans, the Biden administration is not the only one to blame for the Taliban’s return to power.

“I think we were thrown by America to the Taliban? Why?” asked Amiri Khan, a former Afghan special forces commando who used a pseudonym to protect his identity.

He also criticized President Trump and the deal he negotiated Ambassador of Afghanistan Zalme Khalilzadwho was responsible for negotiating withdrawal terms with the Taliban.

“I was not shocked by the fall of the regime, but I was angry at the USA for playing such a bad game with the allies in Afghanistan,” the commando, who fought with the United States special forces against the Taliban, told Fox News Digital. He added that he believed that the plan was always to hand over Afghanistan to the Taliban.

“We have not surrendered,” added Khan, who was at his base in Kunar, in the country’s east, when news broke that the Taliban had taken over Kabul. “I am now in a neighboring country and if need be, I can resist again against this crazy Taliban regime.”

20,000 Afghan Commandos Left Behind, Lawmakers and Veterans Urge Biden to Save Them

National Security Adviser Jake SullivanSpeaking at last month’s Aspen Security Forum, said viewing the withdrawal images was “painful” and “difficult”.

“A year later, I think the president feels that the decision he made was the right decision for the American people and the right decision for how we can make ourselves the best and most effective contributors to the public good globally on issues that span different geographies,” Sullivan said.

The prospects are less clear for Afghans who worked with the US on the ground during the hasty withdrawal.

Afghan National Army soldiers practice live fire at the Afghan Military Academy on October 31, 2018 in Kabul, Afghanistan.  (AP Photo/Rehmat Gul, File)

Afghan National Army soldiers practice live fire at the Afghan Military Academy on October 31, 2018 in Kabul, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Rehmat Gul, File)

Another former Afghan Special Forces commando told Fox News Digital that he, too, had been let down by the Americans. Withholding his name for security reasons, he described his reaction to hearing that the Taliban had entered Kabul while he was in the presidential palace.

“Seeing the panic on every government official’s face — everyone was shocked,” he said, explaining that the news broke for him around 1 a.m. He said he called a friend who told him. The Taliban were in the capital.

The commando added, “Personally I was ready to defend and fight till the last bullet and breath.” “But my colleagues told me not to fight [had been] Abandoned by our leaders and the United States, and [we had] There is no other option but to surrender.”

The commando and some colleagues took a few steps to see if there was any resistance but found nothing.

“Somehow, we reunited at a certain place near the Ministry of Defence,” he said. “We called all the generals and seniors, but no one answered our phone calls. We left our armored vehicles and guns on the roadside and went underground to take cover. Personally, I hid elsewhere for a long time. There were few promises to come out.” He added bitterly: “I think the United States has lost its morals [high ground] here.”

America’s allies are still waiting to leave Afghanistan, a year after the withdrawal

Sami Yousafzai, a veteran Afghan journalist who has covered Afghanistan since 1994, said what happened was inevitable, writing about the Taliban takeover until 2006.

“The Taliban takeover has been a major blow to my life and career,” he explained. “Kabul was my favorite city. I only bought a piece of land to build a house, but when the Taliban came back, that would never happen in my life.”

Yousafzai, who works for Western media outlets, told Fox News Digital that 14 days before the Taliban entered Kabul, he had tweeted that the Islamist group would enter Kabul. 9/11 anniversary. He added that he was forced to remove it because Afghans were angry with him, as his post would demoralize the Afghan army. Now, they say, the Taliban has taken Afghanistan backwards.

“I wish I could be an optimist for Afghans, but I’m not,” he lamented. “The harsh policies of the Taliban have turned the country and the people of my country into a humanitarian disaster. People cannot feed their children.”

The 15 days following the Taliban’s return to power in Kabul were chaotic as US forces evacuated them. Some observers likened it to Fall of Saigon At the end of the Vietnam War. In the days following the Taliban takeover, thousands fled the country, many eking out a living in Kabul.

Commenting on the chaos that followed, a senior Republican congressional staffer told Fox News Digital, “Biden set a political deadline that had nothing to do with the facts in Afghanistan and turned what should have been a cautious withdrawal from the battlefield into a generational military disaster.”

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Speaking on the background, senior Republican congressional staffers noted how America’s adversaries interpreted the precipitous retreat under Biden’s watch.

“His decision has a direct line [on withdrawing from Afghanistan]From war and terrorism to what we see today Russian invasion of Ukraine, China’s tactics against Taiwan, Iran’s killers flood the US,” the staffer told Fox News Digital. “Administration officials don’t even try to deny it when they talk to the Hill. Some have even admitted it in person.”

For FDD’s Bill Roggio, President Biden’s decision was a devastating one that came at a very high price. “The manner of withdrawal was unethical and inexcusable. Biden abandoned a key non-NATO ally who had fought on our side for 20 years. The Afghan people were thoughtlessly sidelined and thrown under the bus in the process.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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