Biden’s Giant Afghanistan Mess! – Guest Author Nirmalya Chatterjee
President Biden’s leadership in exiting Afghanistan has been a colossal mismanagement in any way you look at it – militarily, politically, and in humanitarian terms. He spent close to fifty years in Washington at the seat of the greatest power. You ask yourself what was he thinking? What were his top advisers telling him?
He set a deadline of leaving Afghanistan before the twentieth anniversary of 9/11. You cannot make an arbitrary deadline based on some kind of symbolism. It has to be based on some serious, objective determination of military and political situation. And, most of all, you make months of careful planning and execution for such an exit instead of a rapid, ill coordinated and dangerous departure.
Biden started the troop withdrawal before making any serious efforts of civilian departures. That includes evacuating the Americans as well as hundreds and thousands of Afghan citizens who have assisted the United States in fighting the Taliban for twenty years. He obviously made these civilians very vulnerable without providing the necessary military shield. US military abandoned the strongly fortified Bagram airbase and shifted to the civilian airport in Kabul. Throughout the centuries of military history, no leader has ever given up their stronghold and shifted to a vulnerable location. We saw how the Taliban controlled the perimeter of the Kabul’s Hamid Karzai airport. They decided who could leave the country. We saw through the television cameras how desperate and helpless these civilians were in and around the airport. Americans were at the mercy of the Taliban for the evacuation process. Those of us who remember the departure scenes from Vietnam in the seventies feel that those look pale compared to the Afghanistan exit.
Thousands of Afghan civilians assisted the US military as interpreters, informers and through various other civilian duties. Without their support, Americans would have never survived in Afghanistan this long. Many of them are left behind in the hands of the Taliban. You hear them speak to the US media through their mobile phones now and you can feel their sense of desperation. They are going to get crushed by the Taliban for helping the Americans. Why would anyone come forward to help the Americans in future conflicts after this experience? President Biden prides himself for his empathy for human beings. Did he think about how he should try to save the lives of the Afghan friends?
Biden has all these so called capable people in his team. Secretaries of Defense & State, National Security Adviser, Director of National Intelligence, etc., etc. They all look smart and savvy in front of the television cameras. What were they thinking? What were they telling Biden? Did any of them object to Biden’s amateurish exit plan? Has any of them resigned in protest so far?
President Biden continues to vehemently defend his decision to leave Afghanistan. He fails to acknowledge that the criticism is about the way he mismanaged the departure. Most Americans feel that the war should end and the United States should leave Afghanistan. He blames President Trump now. It is true that Trump did a lousy job in the way he made the 2020 Doha agreement with the Taliban for the US departure. Trump was trying to look good and win the election. But, Trump did not tell Biden how he should manage the departure. It was totally chaotic and it was totally Biden’s responsibility. Repercussions of this failure will be felt for many years. America leadership looked incoherent in execution, unreliable to allies and embarrassingly weak. The voters will certainly send that message.
Nirmalya Chatterjee has been a senior executive of several Fortune 500 companies. He was the Chairman of the Hindu Temple of Las Vegas. He is currently the Chief Financial Officer of a Las Vegas based company.
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