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The Biden administration’s Afghan nightmare

11 3 5

WASHINGTON – It is far from clear that President Joe Biden deserves the obloquy heaped on him for the U.S. evacuation from Afghanistan.

This is especially true given the endings of other American wars and the nearly impossible situation confronting him — in particular, that the Kabul airport is located within a city of millions which had just come under Taliban control.

The repetitive airing of scenes of panicked Afghans clinging to C-17 cargo planes after this was no longer happening made for far more dramatic scenes than the smooth take-offs that followed during the next 17 days of evacuation, yet news programs kept rerunning those chaotic images, creating an impression of Biden as hapless. Yet, some 120,000 U.S. people — including troops of U.S. allies as well as Afghans who had helped the U.S. cause — were evacuated by air from Kabul, a logistical triumph.

Since Biden chose to end the evacuation by Aug. 31, the date he had set, a few hundred Americans — some not ready to depart, many unable to reach Kabul airport — as well as hundreds of Afghans who had worked with the United States, were left behind. (A few have been evacuated since.) But Biden faced only bad choices. Had he prolonged America’s presence, U.S. troops and those of allies would have been put at more risk, especially from the murderous Islamic State (ISIS) offshoot that had begun a campaign of suicide bombings.

The retreat from Afghanistan has revealed much about the nature of the government that Biden is running and how he runs it. Although Donald Trump — who also wanted to get out of Afghanistan — left Biden with an unworkable settlement with the Taliban,........

© The Japan Times

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