The U.S. is pulling out of Afghanistan with alarming, and some say, dangerous speed after two decades of involvement, leaving our national security at great risk. Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani has already relinquished power to an interim government led by Taliban commander Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. The Taliban have seized the Presidential palace in Kabul. There are reports of the seizure by the Taliban of a "massive boon" of U.S. weapons supplied to and now abandoned by U.S.-trained Afghani soldiers.
"The Taliban now find themselves flush with American-supplied tools, without having to raise a single penny."
The U.S. military left the strategic Bagram Airfield in the dead of night in early July, leaving behind:
"thousands of civilian vehicles, including many that no longer had keys, and hundreds of armored military vehicles, such as Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, or MRAPs..."
Bagram Airbase/Rahmat Gul/AP Photo
Also left behind were "3.5 million items, all itemized by the departing U.S. military. They include tens of thousands of bottles of water, energy drinks and military ready-made meals, known as MRE’s."
Bari Weiss' wrote a preface to an Aug. 16 compiled series of commentaries from H.R. McMaster, Nikki Haley, Justin Amash, Elliot Ackerman, Thomas Joscelyn, Eli Lake and Jacob Siegel called "Why We Failed: The American Exit From Afghanistan." She writes:
"While the leader of the free world hunkers down at Camp David and his top spokeswoman is “'out of office,'” many of us are left wondering what to make of the horrific images coming out of Afghanistan."
Eli Lake writes, in his commentary, that the "White House transforms [a] stalemate into a catastrophe." Gen. H.R. McMaster's contribution stated:
"We hear that the consequences of this lost war can be managed. But self-defeat based in incompetence and lack of will should be cause for grave concern. There is much more suffering and violence ahead. It will be years before the stain of 2021 can be effaced."
Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley wrote in the same compilation:
"They [the Taliban] aren’t the only enemy satisfied by our defeat. China, Russia and Iran are watching a weak and retreating America unable to protect our interests. As a result, America is less safe today. That’s the biggest price we’ll pay for Biden’s failure in Afghanistan.
Haley's husband deployed to Afghanistan as a Major in the South Carolina Army National Guard on January 10, 2013.
Gen. Mark Milley, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in a press briefing on July 21, stated, "our drawdown continues in a safe and orderly manner." He continued with the following excerpted statement:
"[T]he Afghan Security Forces have the capacity to sufficiently fight and defend their country, and we will continue to support the Afghan Security Forces where necessary in accordance with the guidance from the president and the secretary of defense.
"The future of Afghanistan is squarely in the hands of the Afghan people, and there are a range of possible outcome[s] in Afghanistan. And I want to emphasize repeatedly, and I've said this before, a negative outcome, a Taliban automatic military takeover, is not a foregone conclusion. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and make adjustments as necessary."
Meanwhile, panic and desperation set in at the Kabul airport as U.S. forces leave and the Taliban seizes control of the country.
In his July 8 teleconference provided below, Biden spoke about the swift drawdown, declaring, "in this context, speed is safety." He also said, “the likelihood there’s going to be the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely.” Biden's Aug. 14 statement on Afghanistan can be found here.
Over the weekend, per reporting by Breitbart, American's top general, Gen. Mark Milley "told senators on a briefing call Sunday that U.S. officials are expected to alter their earlier assessments about the pace of terrorist groups reconstituting in Afghanistan, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press."
"Based on the evolving situation, officials now believe terror groups like al-Qaeda and others may be able to grow much faster than expected, according to the person, who had direct knowledge of the briefing but was not authorized to discuss the details of the call publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity."
"The Biden administration officials on the call with senators—among them were Milley, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin—said U.S. intelligence agencies are working on forming a new timeline based on the evolving threats, the person familiar with the matter said."
The graphic below, published on Spokesman.com, shows a rapid take over by the Taliban in one day's time.
Taliban Control/The Spokesman
"In a stunning rout, the Taliban seized nearly all of Afghanistan in just over a week, despite the billions of dollars spent by the U.S. and NATO over nearly 20 years to build up Afghan security forces. Just days earlier, an American military assessment estimated that the capital would not come under insurgent pressure for a month."
In a message sent to UncoverDC and posted on Telegram, Gen. Mike Flynn stated the following about the war in Afghanistan, with an added message to Americans at the end:
"Regarding Afghanistan and beyond; I believe we have passed the point of salvation for our senior military leaders and politicians. We have allowed military and civilian lawyers (read rules of engagement restrictions) to become all powerful and our Generals (indecisive and risk-averse) to become nothing more than career-seeking politicians."
"Those are 2 big reasons we have continued to fight and lose wars (we are trained at participating in wars and untrained at winning wars since WWII). AFG is a sad situation, as were the Kurds in Iraq, but at least Trump pushed our respect internationally (being tough and smart is better than being tough and stupid)."
"Today, I don't believe America is respected the way we were only a few short months ago. More countries visit China these days than come to the U.S. and China is prepped to recognize the Taliban once they declare the Islamic State simply to embarrass us. My sense is Taiwan is having some incredibly uncomfortable internal discussions (American apathy is likely starting to sink in)—as are a lot of U.S. allies in Europe. I also believe China is doing a lot of wargaming of costs and benefits currently with respect to the south China sea and Europe."
"We are now in a fully engaged information war. Soon it may be worse—I pray our senior military leadership is intensely planning all options—the best plan offers the most options at the last possible moment."
"So now we wait. Trust me, our enemies are not waiting. They plan and they don’t care about stupid mask policies or fake insurrection BS. Our enemies will be working on the next three vulnerabilities we haven't even thought about. I believe Russia and China are clear-eyed on our corrupt political leadership that they and many other nations no longer respect nor fear."
"America will come back and soon, but it will come at a cost. If the bureaucracy in Washington D.C. (esp., DOD, State and the IC) want to keep acting like utopian ideologues, we will lose; if you find your courage, we will win."
"I say step up, stand up and straighten up your backbones, demand far better from your leaders and let’s start winning again." Gen. Mike Flynn
Flynn also was a guest on Monday's Dark to Light podcast with Frank and Beanz.
An Aug. 16 MarketWatch article describes the financial and human cost of "America's longest war." The American taxpayer will be paying for the war in Afghanistan for years to come. The "estimated amount of direct Afghanistan and Iraq war costs that the United States has debt-financed as of 2020: $2 trillion."
The cost by 2050, "up to 6.5 Trillion, according to Watson Institute at Brown University. And, the U.S. has already "committed to pay more than $2 trillion in health care, disability, burial and other costs for roughly 4 million Afghanistan and Iraq veterans."
At an approximate $2.26 trillion price tag, the Afghanistan war has cost roughly $15,694 per taxpayer.
Many Senators and Representatives have weighed in on Biden's absence and his administration's "botched exit."
Senators and Reps weigh in on Biden/dutytoamerica.news
House Speaker Pelosi commended Biden:
“The President is to be commended for the clarity of purpose of his statement on Afghanistan and his action. The Taliban must know the world is watching its actions. We are concerned about reports regarding the Taliban’s brutal treatment of all Afghans, especially women and girls.”
Former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan and Iraq under former President Barack Obama, Ryan Crocker, said about Biden's leadership that he is "left with some grave concerns about his ability to lead."
On the Aug. 8 "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" Crocker, and former Afghan interpreter Janis Shinwari both express fear for the Afghani people and disappointment with the Biden administration's handling of the withdrawal:
Shinwari: "...the Taliban will kill everybody. And they will torture them in front of their family and kill them."
"I just heard a couple news that, when the Taliban did control a couple cities, they were going and knocking door by door and asking for those people who were supporting the U.S. mission in Afghanistan and they were trying to kill them."
Crocker: "One place where it is not good to be right now is the situation we've put ourselves in. The Taliban can wait. They've got the options. They've got the leverage and the capability. We've given all that away."
About Biden's chaotic withdrawal, Crocker continued. "He owns it. And I think it is already an indelible stain on his presidency."
President Biden addressed the nation on Monday afternoon. Among the points made, Biden explained that his administration believes that "American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war and dying in the war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves."
He also stated that he stands by his decision while admitting that the Taliban control over the country "unfolded more quickly than we had anticipated":
"I stand squarely behind my decision. After 20 years I've learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw U.S. forces."
Biden spoke about the Special Immigrant Visa applicants whose families are in the U.S., stating that his administration has already moved:
"2000 Afghans [who] are eligible for special immigration visas and their families to the United States. In the coming days, the military will provide assistance to SIV eligible Afghans and their families out of Afghanistan."
"Once we have completed this mission, we will conclude our military withdrawal and America's longest war. After 20 long years of bloodshed, events we're seeing now are sadly proof that no amount of military force would ever deliver a stable, united, secure Afghanistan, which is as known in history is the graveyard of empires. What's happening now could have easily happened five years ago or 15 years in the future.
You have to be honest. Our mission in Afghanistan is taking many missteps and made many missteps over the past two decades. I am the fourth American president to preside over the war in Afghanistan—two Democrats and two Republicans [before me]. I will not pass this responsibly on to a 5th president. I know my decision will be criticized, but I would rather take all that criticism than pass this decision on to another president of the United States because it's the right one. The right decision for our people; the right one for our brave service members who risk their lives serving our nation."
The full 20-minute conference can be found below. It begins at the 46-minute mark: