With the impending fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban after 20 years of the longest continuously running war in American history, President Joe Biden has betrayed the Afghan people, according to The Atlantic's George Packer.
"Perhaps the effort to rebuild the country was doomed from the start," Packer wrote in a Sunday opinion column. "But our abandonment of the Afghans who helped us, counted on us, staked their lives on us, is a final, gratuitous shame that we could have avoided. The Biden administration failed to heed the warnings on Afghanistan, failed to act with urgency — and its failure has left tens of thousands of Afghans to a terrible fate.
"This betrayal will live in infamy. The burden of shame falls on President Joe Biden."
Packer blasted the Biden administration's excuses for the failure so many predicted in executing a troop withdrawal from the war-torn country, leaving the vacuum for the Taliban to assume control.
"All of this was foreseeable — all of it was foreseen," Packer wrote. "For months, members of Congress and advocates in refugee, veteran, and human-rights organizations have been urging the Biden administration to evacuate America's Afghan allies on an emergency basis.
"For months, dire warnings have appeared in the press. The administration's answers were never adequate:
- 'We're waiting for Congress to streamline the application process.'
- 'Half the interpreters we've given visas don't want to leave.'
- 'We don't want to panic the Afghan people and cause the government in Kabul to collapse.'
- 'Evacuation to a U.S. territory like Guam could lead to legal problems, so we're looking for third-country hosts in the region.'
- 'Most of the interpreters are in Kabul, and Kabul won't fall for at least six months.'
"Some of these answers might have been sincere – all of them were irrelevant, self-deceiving, or flat-out false," Packer added.
Afghanistan's Taliban entered the capital Kabul on Sunday and Western-backed President Ashraf Ghani left the country, with the insurgents saying they were seeking complete power.
Two officials from the militant Islamist group told Reuters there would be no transitional government following their lighting sweep across Afghanistan that led back to the capital two decades after the Taliban was overthrown by U.S.-led forces.
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