Biden’s Fiasco in Afghanistan

 Afghanistan refugees fleeing the country 

 In a matter of weeks, the Taliban swept through Afghanistan – taking provincial capital after provincial capital. On August 15, 2021, the nation of Afghanistan collapsed—and was forever changed. Gone were the ideals of liberal democracy, increasing economic conditions and women’s full participation in society. Now, an authoritarian regime that has no interest in human rights rules the country. Tens of thousands of NATO forces and allies, their citizens and Afghan people attempted to flee. I must use the phrase “attempted to flee” rather than a resolving “fled.” This change in phrasing is due to the one thousand United States citizens and Afghans possessing United States visas that are stranded in Afghanistan, trapped by the totalitarian Taliban. 

This did not have to be the case. The withdrawal from Afghanistan could have been a sad story, not one that is tragic. The United States has had plenty of practice evacuating its citizens from danger in the modern-day, so why was this evacuation as chaotic as it was, and why did it go wrong? There are a few reasons why this was the case, but two key points are clear: faulty intelligence and a gross lack of leadership.

The United States Intelligence Community under President Biden is inept in carrying out their duties. For months, political analysts and strategists made their voices loud and clear that Afghanistan would collapse the second the United States and NATO forces withdrew from the country. It appears that those on late-night television are better suited to run our intelligence agencies, as said agencies predicted that Afghanistan would last at least six months after withdrawal as late as July 2021. As we all know, Afghanistan fell over two weeks before the evacuation ended. Had it not been for this unacceptable miscalculation, NATO forces would have had many more weeks to conduct evacuations— saving hundreds of lives and rescuing thousands more. 

Besides faulty intelligence, the Biden Administration did nothing to help the situation and, in fact, made it much worse. President Biden campaigned on his years of foreign policy experience, promising that he would bring level-headedness and sound decision-making back to the White House. According to Former Obama Administration Defense Secretary Robert Gates, President Biden has “been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” Unfortunately, this quote has become glaringly true over the past month. While American and allied forces were struggling in Afghanistan, President Biden was on vacation at Camp David. Due to his ineptitude, 13 U.S. troops and 60 Afghan citizens lost their lives due to an ISIS-K bombing at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. Now, over one thousand people who should have been evacuated are stranded. Unfortunately, Biden’s so-called “foreign policy” experience went up in smoke at the precise moment we needed it. 

We must look hard at the mistakes that occurred in Afghanistan and ensure that they do not happen again. The situation in Afghanistan is the largest embarrassment that America has faced on the world stage in nearly 50 years. If we refuse to set aside misplaced trust in inept leaders, we are doomed to repeat these mistakes once again – that cannot happen. We as people of this country shall not allow this to continue.

– Ethan Bauck ’22

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