A disaster is unfolding in Afghanistan.
Two decades after the Taliban allowed Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda forces to launch terrorist attacks against the United States from their territory – attacks that murdered nearly 3,000 innocent men, women and children – the war was effectively won.
The Taliban had been toppled. Bin Laden had been killed. Al Qaeda was devastated and on the run.
It was messy, and it remains so. Afghanistan has always been a lawless, dangerous place. It was never going to be simple to establish lasting peace and security there. It was going to take focus, courage and long-lasting resolve.
But rather than stay the course, Biden is declaring victory and plans to withdraw all U.S. military forces from Afghanistan by Aug. 31.
This is a terrible mistake.
The Taliban is already cheering what they rightly perceive as an American surrender and their own triumph.
They could not defeat the U.S. or our allies militarily, so they waited us to get tired and leave.
Today the Taliban jihadists are back on the rampage, slaughtering civilians and surging back into power.
Consider what has happened just in recent weeks:
- A resurgent and vengeful Taliban has killed more than 1,000 Afghan civilians over the past month.
- On Friday, the Taliban assassinated the top spokesman for the Afghan government.
- Last week, the Taliban tried to assassinate the acting Afghan defense minister.
- Last week, the Taliban captured the city of Ziranj, the capital of the Afghan province of Nimroz.
Afghanistan has entered a “deadlier and more destructive phase” of its war with the Taliban, said Deborah Lyons, the United Nations special envoy for Afghanistan, said on Friday.
On Saturday, the Biden administration urged all U.S. citizens to flee Afghanistan because it does not have enough forces in place to protect them.
“The U.S. Embassy urges U.S. citizens to leave Afghanistan immediately using available commercial flight options,” the State Department warned. “Given the security conditions and reduced staffing, the Embassy’s ability to assist U.S. citizens in Afghanistan is extremely limited even within Kabul.
This is the message Biden wants to send as we approach the 20th anniversary of 9/11?
DEADLY DÉJÀ VU?
Tragically, Biden’s moves are a case of a deadly “déjà vu all over again.”
Biden is making the same mistake that he and President Barack Obama made in Iraq when they decided to pull all U.S. troops out of Iraq by the end of 2011.
In my forthcoming new book, “Enemies and Allies: An Unforgettable Journey Inside The Fast-Moving & Immensely Turbulent Modern Middle East,” I explain how Biden and Obama foolishly forfeited all the gains U.S. and allied forces had made inside Iraq and created a political and military vacuum into which AQI – al Qaeda in Iraq – surged and morphed into ISIS.
Here are several excerpts from my book, which releases on Sept. 7:
Biden voted to remove Saddam Hussein from power in 2003, but quickly turned against the war and opposed “the surge” in 2007 – the critical decision by President George W. Bush to increase the number of U.S. forces in Iraq, a move that turned the tide of the war and allowed the U.S. and our allies to crush the violent insurrection led by former Saddam loyalists, Iranian proxy forces, and al Qaeda….
Biden has boasted that he led the charge to remove all U.S. military forces from Iraq by the end of 2011. During a Democrat presidential candidate debate in 2019, he said, “I made sure the president turned to me and said, ‘Joe, get our combat troops out of Iraq.’ I was responsible for getting 150,000 combat troops out of Iraq.”
Yet this move created the very vacuum that allowed for the rise of ISIS and its campaign of genocide to slaughter Muslims, Christians and Yazidis across Iraq and Syria.
At the time, senior Democrats warned Obama and Biden against pulling out prematurely. For example, Leon Panetta, who served as CIA director from 2009 to 2011 and as defense secretary from 2011 to 2013, vigorously opposed the pullout. “It was clear to me—and many others—that withdrawing all our forces would endanger the fragile stability then barely holding Iraq together,” Panetta wrote in his memoir.
BIDEN BAILS, BLAMES TRUMP
Today, Biden is giving away all the gains that were painfully earned in Afghanistan with American and allied blood, sweat, tears and treasure.
In the process, he is creating a new political and military vacuum.
Here is his reasoning, in his own words.
“When I announced our drawdown in April, I said we would be out by September, and we’re on track to meet that target,” Biden said in an East Room briefing at the White House on July 8.
“Our military mission in Afghanistan will conclude on August 31st,” he declared. “The United States did what we went to do in Afghanistan: to get the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 and to deliver justice to Osama Bin Laden, and to degrade the terrorist threat to keep Afghanistan from becoming a base from which attacks could be continued against the United States. We achieved those objectives. That’s why we went.
“We did not go to Afghanistan to nation-build. And it’s the right and the responsibility of the Afghan people alone to decide their future and how they want to run their country.”
Biden said the decision to pull out 100% of U.S. forces from Afghanistan lies with his predecessor, Donald Trump.
“The United States, in the last administration, made an agreement with the Taliban to remove all our forces by May 1 of this year,” Biden said. “That’s what I inherited. That agreement was the reason the Taliban had ceased major attacks against U.S. forces.”
That is true.
The Trump administration concluded a deal with the Taliban in February 2020 to end the Afghan war, and Trump said he would pull U.S. forces out if the Taliban kept their end of the bargain.
Then, in October 2020, during the heated U.S. presidential campaign, Trump made it clear that he wanted all U.S. troops out of the Afghan theater by Christmas, well ahead of the agreed upon schedule.
Senior U.S. military officials, and key members of Congress, warned Trump not to pull all U.S. forces out, or he would create a vacuum that would be filled by the Taliban and other terrorists.
In April, President Biden said he would not try to renegotiate the Taliban agreement, but would pull out all U.S. forces by September.
Trump praised Biden, saying his decision was a “wonderful and positive thing to do.”
EXPERTS WARN BIDEN NOT TO LEAVE AFGHANISTAN TO THE RADICALS
While I believe Trump did many excellent things to advance U.S. national security, especially in the Middle East, I absolutely disagree with both Biden and Trump.
Pulling out U.S. forces and abandoning the field of battle will not bring peace.
It will bring disaster.
I am not alone in this assessment.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican, has been vocal in his sharp disagreement with this approach, as well.
“I could not disagree more with former President Trump regarding his support for President Biden’s withdrawal of all forces from Afghanistan against sound military advice,” Graham argued in April. “With all due respect to former President Trump, there is nothing ‘wonderful’ or ‘positive’ about allowing safe havens and sanctuary for terrorists to reemerge in Afghanistan or see Afghanistan be drawn back into another civil war.”
“These [US and allied] forces act as an insurance policy to prevent the rise of ISIS and al-Qaeda, which threaten the American homeland, as well as to prevent another Afghan civil war,” Graham added.
Sen. Tom Cotton, the Arkansas Republican, also opposes a full withdrawal.
“I do share those concerns that Afghanistan could revert into a terrorist safe haven in which terrorists could plan and launch attacks,” Cotton said in April.
Cotton argued it was critical that the U.S. military and our allies work tirelessly to prevent Afghanistan becoming taken over by the Taliban and other terror groups.
“That was true when I was in Afghanistan as an Army captain 12 years ago, eight years into this war,” Cotton noted. “We were trying to ensure that Afghanistan could not fall back into the hands of groups like the Taliban or Al-Qaeda and now ISIS and be used attack the United States.”
Trump was wrong to agree to a full U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The U.S. still has military forces in Germany, Japan, and South Korea, long after those hot wars ended.
To maintain peace and security, and to deter anyone determined to turn those countries into new theaters of bloodsheds and genocide.
Biden is wrong to follow the Trump direction in this area.
CRITICAL LESSONS NOT LEARNED
Biden should have learned critical lessons from the debacle he helped create in Iraq.
But he has not.
Rather, Biden has made it clear that he is exhausted by the conflict and not willing to pursue it any further.
“After 20 years – a trillion dollars spent training and equipping hundreds of thousands of Afghan National Security and Defense Forces, 2,448 Americans killed, 20,722 more wounded, and untold thousands coming home with unseen trauma to their mental health – I will not send another generation of Americans to war in Afghanistan with no reasonable expectation of achieving a different outcome,” Biden said at the July 8 White House event.
In so doing, Biden is presiding over the abandonment of Afghanistan as we approach the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
And he is creating the very environment that could see new and devastating attacks launched by radical Islamists against the U.S. and our allies.
Let us pray Biden wakes up and realizes the terrible mistake he is making and changes course – before it’s too late.
“Enemies and Allies: An Unforgettable Journey Inside The Fast-Moving & Immensely Turbulent Modern Middle East” will be published on Sept. 7 in hardcover, e-book and audio formats.
Rosenberg will launch a nationwide media and speaking tour throughout the U.S. for the entire month of September.
Readers can pre-order the book now by clicking HERE.