Tuesday is the day President Biden proclaimed that all U.S. troops will be gone from Afghanistan.
Why? And how is the evacuation going?
On Aug. 23, William Burns, who on March 18 became the first career diplomat to head the CIA, unsuccessfully tried to negotiate an extension with Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Barader in what Bloomberg ironically described as a secret meeting.
Barader’s teammates included the man who orchestrated the takeover of Afghanistan, Khairullah Khaukhua, who President Obama released from Guantanamo in 2014 to include him with other terrorists in the “exchange” for the traitor Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
Hopefully Barader’s team does not yet include any of the 4,900 prisoners formerly held by the U.S. in Kabul. They were just freed by the Taliban. How flexible will this group be toward the U.S.?
CIA Director Burns is under the direction of the president, who said the U.S. allies all supported his decision despite Britain, France and Germany all saying the opposite.
His colleagues — Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, issued statements on Aug. 18. Their remarks resembled the lyric: “It is not you, it is not me, it is that guy under the tree.”
In an Aug. 18 press conference, Secretary Austin and Gen. Milley explained that the current plan was developed in Washington but designed in Afghanistan. Naming a city, such as Washington, is a way of trying to deflect the blame away from the speakers and onto some unknown person(s) (under the tree?) who cannot be verified.
Gen. Milley admitted that the plan was briefed through the chain of command. There was no notice, no mention of names or a mention that Gen. Milley is at the top of the chain of command and reports directly to Secretary Austin, who reports to the president.
Mr. Milley apparently grabbed onto the “designed in Afghanistan” to shift the responsibility to Gen. Austin “Scottie” Miller for following the order from “Washington” to do a “midnight move” from Bagram Airfield on July 5 without even informing the Afghan commander.
A midnight move prevented the U.S. forces from removing the planes, Black Hawk helicopters, armed vehicles and an estimated 600,000 infantry weapons including M-16s, thousands of nighttime goggles and a million rounds of ammunition that the U.S. used to control a country with only 2,500 troops.
Now the Taliban can use them for the same reason.
On July 8, President Biden said the Taliban were not strong enough to take over the country.
On July 12, Gen. Miller resigned his commission.
During July and August as the Taliban increased the areas it controlled, the Biden team then started a reverse withdrawal by increasing the troops to 7,000 while retreating to Kabul airport, while the Taliban now controls who enters it.
The orders are for the U.S. troops to not leave the airport while our allies, including the British and French, are roaming Kabul to assist their citizens evaluate their stranded citizens.
Meanwhile, White House press secretary Jen Psaki played the “word game” by denying that U.S. citizens were “stranded” but did not offer her alternative word for those “left without the means to move somewhere.”
That’s the very definition of “stranded.”
On Aug. 24, President Biden stumbled through a seven-minute reading of a teleprompter to announce that he would not extend the Aug. 31 deadline. Or was it the Taliban’s decision?
The president then accused the other members of the G-7 of disloyalty by opposing his actions and insisting on an extension.
Reports from Kabul are that some U.S. troops are again flying out of Kabul, and the Taliban is determining which, if any, U.S. citizens reach the airport. The Taliban announced that Afghans will not be permitted to leave.
The shuffle to leave, and the elimination of access to the records in the embassy, means there will be no effective vetting of the Afghans being flown to the U.S. to join the 5,500 unvetted COVID-carrying migrants crossing the southern border each day.
The Supreme Court just held that the Biden administration acted in an “arbitrary and capricious” manner when it eliminated the Trump border policy. Just that one?
Afghanistan outlasted the British and the Russians some 20 years ago. The U.S. sent troops to Afghanistan to destroy terrorist groups and the mastermind of 9/11 Osama Bin Laden.
The troops accomplished both, so about 18 months ago President Donald Trump followed the traditional approach of the military of sequentially removing civilians, equipment and finally troops, with a beginning of reducing the troops to 2,500 while threatening the Taliban if any American was killed. It worked as there was peace for 18 months.
On his inauguration day, President Biden began by reversing President Trump’s policies and practices. Mr. Biden stopped the Keystone Pipeline, eliminated the controls on the border and revised Mr. Trump’s plans for an orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Now as the Saudis control our energy; the Mexican cartels, our southern border; and the Taliban, Afghanistan, Congress is considering creating a huge debt that will enable our creditors, such as China, to control our economy.
Who’s stranded now?
The author lives in Santa Barbara.