Is Biden the Only One to Blame?

Is Biden to Blame for Afghanistan's Takeover of Taliban Terrorists?

People fleeing via plane in Kabul
People running and trying to get aboard in Kabul airport

The truth is Biden isn’t to blame for what’s happening in Afghanistan. Neither is Trump or Obama. The war there simply wasn’t sustainable anymore and the US retreat from the country had been going on for over a decade.

In 2011 Obama said he would withdraw 10,000 troops by the end of the year, and an additional 23,000 troops would leave by the summer of 2012. 

In 2020 Trump signed an agreement with the Taliban to reduce US troops from 13,000 to 8,600, and then reduce it to only 4,500. Biden announced this year he would completely withdraw troops from Afghanistan by September 11. 

A move Trump praised as “a wonderful and positive thing to do”, and his only criticism was that it should be moved up sooner to May 1st. I have no doubt that Trump and Biden, and military officials, knew that once they left the Taliban would inevitably take over. 

Biden was simply hoping in the best-case scenario that a takeover would happen after their full withdrawal and not during. But, this is an impoverished third-world country that has been in perpetual war for over 4 decades. They aren’t going to move according to Trump or Biden’s timeline. 

They saw a window and they took it. Probably on the gamble that Americans would not commit to redeploying troops, and their gamble paid off to the detriment of secular leaders the US had made promises too. Promises will remain broken, but they aren’t the first to receive false promises from America and they won’t be the last.
However, the US had been at war in Afghanistan for two decades, with more than 6,000 American lives lost, over 100,000 Afghans killed, and more than $2 trillion spent by the US. During these two decades the Afghan government and military had been stealing American funds and corruption was widespread.
People are saying Biden “mismanaged” this or that. The truth is the only “managing” going on in the last decade was their exit from the country. 

As we watch the images of Taliban fighters entering Kabul and the horrific future we see coming for this nation, Americans of all political stripes must ask themselves, “What was the alternative?” Was it to redeploy thousands of troops to go fight and die in Afghanistan? 

Was it to spend trillions moreover another two decades. Maybe the answer to that question for you is “yes.” Maybe it’s “no.” I don’t think either answer can be held lightly, or held in contempt by those on the opposing side. It’s too complex.
What’s clear is the US government and its presidential administrations, Republican and Democrat, were following a long project of abandoning the country. 

The Afghan government only ever had control over a partial part of the country and had little chance of holding back the Taliban forever unless US forces stayed permanently. But the US has now left and Afghanistan’s future is in their own hands.

Now, one might say, "Do you think the 70-year troop presence in South Korea is sustainable?"

The situation in South and the US military bases they have there, (and I’ve been to two of them, the one in Seoul and the one in the JSA) and the conflict is extremely different. 

First of all, while they are technically at war on Korea it isn’t a hot war. The US military isn’t actually fighting there. Also, South Korea pays partially for the military presence of the US, as does Japan, and unlike Afghanistan, they find their own military. 

And military service in South Korea is obligatory for all citizens. Plus the military bases of the US are relatively small. Particularly the one in the JSA. 

It’s more of a formal presentation. They wouldn’t actually be able to hold back a land invasion. The brunt of that would fall on South Korea. 

The reason those bases exist is to automatically involve the US should North Korea threaten the South with nuclear weapons, which the South doesn’t have. Nor does Japan. 

Japan also is in conflict with the DPRK btw. Afghanistan doesn’t have nuclear capability, it isn’t a major economic center of technology, nor is it strategically as important as South Korea or Japan. 

North Korea is the wild card that China uses to threaten the rest of the region which is why they have always tried to maintain it afloat.

So is the US presence in South Korea sustainable? Yes. And unfortunately necessary for the foreseeable future.

You’re more than welcome now to make a moral argument for the US continued war in Afghanistan, and like I said in my post that’s a very complicated argument to argue against. But you made a political comparison to South Korea, not a moral one, and that’s my educated response. 

Lalo Dagach


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