It’s been two years since after Afghanistan

Published 9:55 am Wednesday, August 16, 2023

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By Rep. Jerry Carl

This week marks two years since President Biden’s botched and cowardly withdrawal from Afghanistan that resulted in 13 American servicemembers losing their lives to senseless violence.

Months before the withdrawal, President Trump had started planning a peaceful, pragmatic withdrawal from Afghanistan after 20 years of U.S. involvement, and most agreed it was time for the U.S. to begin this process. However, President Biden failed to execute this withdrawal safely and properly. Reports from the State Department and Pentagon both clearly showed President Biden did not account for any worst-case scenarios when executing this withdrawal.

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As a result, the Taliban seized Afghanistan, took control of the U.S. embassy in Kabul, seized the presidential palace, and begin firing on the Kabul Airport as thousands of Americans, Afghans, and other innocent people in the surrounding areas desperately fled for their lives. Like many of you, I will never forget the images and videos showing civilians literally holding onto the outside of taxiing jets attempting to escape the chaos in Afghanistan.

President Biden also left behind $85 billion worth of American military equipment that immediately fell into Taliban hands. Why did he not plan better to remove our equipment or at a bare minimum, make it unusable for our enemies? Just a few days later, this disastrous situation grew even worse with the loss of 13 American servicemembers.

Decades of work to fight terrorism in the region were undone in a matter of hours thanks to President Biden’s absolutely horrific handling of the situation. I still believe this is the worse foreign policy blunder of my lifetime, and it certainly weakened America’s image on the world stage.

Meanwhile, the Taliban rule in Afghanistan for the last two years has been devastating for women and minorities in particular. The United Nations reports over 5 million Afghans fled in the wake of the withdrawal and another 3 million have been internally displaced. There’s a humanitarian crisis going on too, with roughly half of Afghanistan’s population facing massive food insecurities. Also, the Taliban regime has signed a deal with the Chinese Communist Party, allowing them to drill for oil and invest in Afghanistan’s lithium sector.

Two years after the botched withdrawal, the world is watching as Afghanistan tumbles further into chaos and creates further instability in the region. The country that harbored al Qaeda and its members responsible for the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on American soil is back firmly in the grips of the Taliban as the new Islamic State variant continues gaining traction. President Biden is to blame for terribly mismanaging this withdrawal and practically handing the keys over to the Taliban. The world has not forgotten.