There is bipartisan backlash against the Biden administration’s plan to withdraw from Afghanistan. Senator Mitt Romney said he “cannot understand why [withdrawal] has been done with such tragic human cost; without an effective strategy to defend our partners; and with inestimable shock to our nation’s credibility, reliability, and honor.”
“For months,” said Democratic Representative Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, “I have been calling on the Administration to evacuate our allies immediately — not to wait for paperwork, for shaky agreements with third countries, or for time to make it look more ‘orderly,’ ”
The withdrawal so far has been far from orderly. According to the New York Times, assumptions and plans repeatedly fell through. Even so, the withdrawal plan seems haphazard. It focused on getting U.S. troops out of the country and left U.S. diplomats and Afghani civilians in place.
The State Department was already facing a backlog before it began processing special visas for Afghan interpreters and allies who helped the U.S. in the war against the Taliban. Civil rights leaders urged the government to abandon the special visa processing requirement and immediately rush our allies out of the country. Instead, the State Department redoubled its efforts to vet and process visa applicants. It issued over 5,600 special visas between April and July – the largest number in program history.
It wasn’t nearly enough.
Now, Afghan civilians who supported U.S. troops, along with Afghan leaders and democracy activists, are under threat by the Taliban with no relief in sight. Many thousands are crowding the airport in Kabul hoping for a miracle. The U.S. government is scrambling to get more people out, even requisitioning civilian aircraft in order to do so.
Women and girls in Afghanistan had, for the last 20 years, been living in a proto-democratic country with full civil rights and access to school and work. An entire generation has grown up with the expectation of freedom and civil liberties. An entire generation stands to be lost to the Taliban.
Our own troops look on as 20 years’ worth of struggle is reduced to nothing.
“What we have seen is an unmitigated disaster, a stain on the reputation of the United States of America,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
It appears Biden received poor intelligence that led him and his advisors to expect no real trouble from the Taliban. The group prioritized pulling out troops over evacuating civilians and allies. When everything fell apart, any backup plan there might have been fell through.
It’s true that former president Trump is the one who announced the U.S. would pull out of Afghanistan this summer, but the Biden administration was largely responsible for the plan to do so.
Now, our allies sit abandoned. Terrorists have the upper hand. War just became costlier. Is there blood on Biden’s hands?