The Ugly Legacy of the U.S. Withdrawal from Afghanistan, One Year Later

August 18, 2022 | Kyle Orton
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Last Monday marked the first anniversary of the fall of Kabul to the Taliban in the wake of the chaotic American withdrawal from Afghanistan. Kyle Orton takes stock, and examines the false choice presented to Americans by the Biden administration and its defenders:

[T]he choice was not to withdraw or “escalate” in Afghanistan: President Biden could simply have done nothing and sustained the situation as it had been for nearly a decade. The war, in any serious sense, had been over since 2014, with U.S. troop levels at or below 15,000 since then, and U.S. killed-in-action totals never above 30 annually, fewer fatalities than the U.S. Army suffers in training accidents. The reality is that Biden came into office with an ideological fixation on “ending” the “forever war” in Afghanistan.

The problem is that the enemy gets a vote. If you withdraw while the enemy still has the will to fight, this is called “defeat.”

The Afghan army sacrificed 66,000 lives to defend its country, 5,000 of them in the last few weeks, which is remarkable since, by that time, Biden had sapped its morale with his April confirmation that the U.S. was abandoning the country, and then crippled the Afghan military—withdrawing direct U.S. air support and contractor services so Afghanistan’s own jets and helicopters no longer worked, and ceasing intelligence provision and logistics.

The most disgraceful thing Biden did during last year’s fiasco was to blame the Afghans for what he had done to them, lambasting the Afghan president Ashraf Ghani for refusing to stay to be murdered in his capital city after Biden had opened the gates to the jihadists, and denigrating the Afghan army as “not willing to fight for themselves.”

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