The pull out from Afghanistan has been one of the leading stories in the news and it likely will be for a few weeks. It provides fodder for political gaming and there has been plenty of it. I fully support the pull out and there are many reason for that support I’ll go into another time. Regardless, some are questioning Biden executing that pull out now. It was actually delayed from the original date as more planning was needed. Even with that planning, there were failures in execution. Regardless, we can’t reverse this move as it would be extremely costly, almost like waging a new war since the Taliban is so embedded in the country. But why are we even here?
That reason is the peace deal inked by Trump in Feb. 2020. That deal had a timeline built into it. Item #2 of Part Two of the Doha agreement stated, “Consistent with the joint assessment and determination between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the United States, its allies, and the Coalition will complete the withdrawal of their remaining forces from Afghanistan within 14 months following the announcement of this joint declaration and the U.S.-Taliban agreement, and will withdraw all their forces from remaining bases, subject to the Taliban’s fulfillment of its commitments under the U.S.-Taliban agreement.”
The deal also states that the Taliban will work with the US in preventing the resurgence of “al-Qa’ida, ISIS-K, and other international terrorist groups or individuals to carry out attacks against the United States or its allies.” Will that occur? Trump and his administration thought it would. Biden is just executing that agreement that was put in place by the Trump administration without participation of the Afghanistan government. Any wonder why the Afghan government felt abandoned by the US?
I went back and looked at how our leaders looked at the deal and found a mix of support. Staunch Trump supporters like Tom Cotton were surprisingly silent on the deal, even though they are now coming out actively against a pull out. Why were they silent then? More moderates were against the deal, but accepting of it. Democrats supported it primarily because it meant getting the US out of the corruption plagued country.
Let’s be clear. There is no reason for us to have been in Afghanistan for as long as we were. Presidents came and went, thinking they could fix the problems of the country and the government. We ignored the history of the Soviet pull out and how the Taliban came in to fill the void of protection and dealing with corruption. As the situation continued to degrade in Afghanistan, the Taliban quietly made their way back into the provincial communities, often brokering silent deals with local governments waiting for the pull out.
Trump saw that this was a no-win situation and started the process of exit. The fact he brokered the deal with the very organization people deplore, including many Republicans, is interesting. I really think he was trying to get something in place he could point to and knew that getting both Afghanistan government leaders and the Taliban to the table would be an impossible task. So, he brokered a deal with the enemy of the Afghanis, leaving the government on the outside. In fact, if you read the agreement it mentions the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (the Taliban) more than any other entity.
While I disagree with a lot about the deal, I’m glad Trump was the first president bold enough to say it’s time to get out. While I disagree with Biden’s execution of the pull out, I’m glad he was bold enough to carry out the deal and get the US out. Quite honestly, there is no reasonable solution to this problem. For any who claim the reduced force in the country was keeping the peace, understand that peace was an agreed cease fire by the Taliban waiting on the pull out. Without that cease fire, we would have seen continued casualties of US forces.
Sen. Tom Cotton came out with his assessment of the situation. It’s full of hypocritical statements and shows a surprising ignorance of the Doha agreement. It’s a politically motivated statement by someone trying to game this situation for personal gain. But there is one point I agree with from his statements. We should have never shut down Bagram a month before this pull out. Shutting it down created the chaos we see at the Kabul airport. We had a secure location to evacuate Americans and could have done it more easily. Now, we have to secure the Kabul airport which will take time. We botched that part of the pull out in a big way.
There will be people commenting on social media throughout the day taking their pot shots at Biden, most ignorant of the full scope of this situation. I could go on for pages on the incompetence and corruption of the Afghani government, the reason the Taliban actually appeals to some Afghanis, and the failure of the US government which included Cotton to prepare Afghanistan for this day. We’ll save that for another day.