• October 2, 2023

The Debacle in Afghanistan – WSJ

Former Defense Secretary Bob Gates famously wrote that President Biden had been on the wrong side on every major foreign policy issue in his long career. The world gets another example as Mr Biden’s diabolical, ill-planned withdrawal from Afghanistan turns into strategic defeat and moral debacle.

The Taliban’s march into Kabul continues every day with the fall of more provincial capitals. The last census included 12 capital cities, including Ghazni City on the road between the major cities of Kandahar and Kabul. Reinforcing the Afghan forces to defend Kandahar will be more difficult when the road is blocked.

The Afghan government is trying to launch a counterattack, and President Ashraf Ghani has sacked another army chief. But the Taliban now control at least eight entire provinces, according to the Long War Journal, and their reach includes areas in the north that the Taliban did not control when they ruled the country before September 11th. The city of Herat also fell on Thursday, and Kandahar could be next.

Many Afghan troops fight valiantly but lack the air support that has been their main military advantage. Mr Biden made a mistake in pulling the entire U.S. Air Force out of the country, including private contractors who assist the Afghan Air Force in servicing helicopters and aircraft. Contractors now literally have to help over zoom calls while the US military is flying too few missions out of the Persian Gulf region to slow down the Taliban.

The White House failed to understand what was happening, with leaks saying the government was surprised by the Taliban’s attack. Surprised? The military warned Mr. Biden, as did US intelligence. The Taliban began this offensive on May 1st, two weeks after Mr Biden announced his withdrawal, with the symbolic date of September 11th.

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