The news out of Afghanistan is shocking, to be sure–but mostly because of the speed of the Taliban reconquest. I don’t know anyone who didn’t think that if the US and our allies exited Afghanistan that the Taliban (or ilk) wouldn’t be in charge eventually. But now it looks like the Taliban will have established a transitional government (at least) before we’re out by our self-imposed September 11 deadline.
What is equally shocking is the apparent lack of both will and competency on the part of the Ghani administration and the Afghan military. We spent 20 years, a trillion dollars, supposedly trained 300,000 troops and equipped them with state-of-the-art equipment, and they crumple in a matter of a few weeks? I can’t help but conclude that every president–from George W. Bush to Obama to Trump, and now Biden–has just flat-out lied about the true status of the Afghan government and military.
This is truly a tragedy, but not for us. I shudder at the fate of those Afghans who worked with our people, and every woman and girl, who has been left in the power of these retrograde theocrats. I have no doubt we’ll be seeing beheadings in the soccer stadium before winter.
That said, how should we have moved forward? We’ve had troops in Germany for 76 years, but Germany has been a stable democracy pretty much that entire time. Why couldn’t we have kept troops in Afghanistan for another 56 years? At least that would have forestalled the inevitable, but at the cost of more “blood and treasure.” I just don’t know. As it is, Kabul has become the new Saigon.
[Originally posted on Facebook.]