President Joe Biden speaks about the situation in Afghanistan in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Tuesday in Washington, D.C. (Drew Angerer / Getty Images)
By Christine Favocci August 24, 2021 at 5:28pm
President Joe Biden’s handling of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan is such a stunningly terrible foreign policy decision, it will be the blunder that all future blunders are measured against.
The latest to be tacked onto the growing litany of terrible calls is the renewed resolve for the U.S. to completely withdraw troops from Afghanistan by Aug. 31 despite the pleas from leaders of G-7 nations to extend the deadline.
According to the U.K.’s Daily Mail, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and others met on a call with the president Tuesday hoping for more time to get citizens of other countries out of Afghanistan.
Instead, Biden, who reportedly spoke for seven minutes, said he would be sticking to the timeline while providing empty assurances that the ongoing evacuations would be completed by the end of the month — even as it becomes increasingly difficult to get Americans and Afghan citizens to safety.
“During a meeting this morning with the G7 leaders, the President conveyed that our mission in Kabul will end based on the achievement of our objectives. He confirmed we are currently on pace to finish by August 31st,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.
Psaki noted Biden told the world leaders that the target date “depends on continued coordination with the Taliban, including continued access for evacuees to the airport” and that there would be “contingency plans” to recalibrate if need be.
Still, it seems the Taliban is calling the shots, and the Islamic extremist organization has no intention of extending any kind of grace period.
“They are capable of evacuating their citizens and troops by August 31,” a Taliban spokesman told the Daily Mail.
“All people should be removed prior to that date. After that we do not allow them. We will take a different stance,” the spokesman reportedly said.
Will Biden’s insistence on the Aug. 31 date hurt our relationship with G-7 nations?
“It’s a red line,” another Taliban spokesman, Dr. Suhail Shaheen, told Sky News.
“President Biden announced that on 31 August they would withdraw all their military forces. So if they extend it that means they are extending occupation while there is no need for that,” he said.
“If the US or UK were to seek additional time to continue evacuations — the answer is no,” Shaheen continued. “Or there would be consequences. It will create mistrust between us. If they are intent on continuing the occupation it will provoke a reaction.”
There are approximately 6,000 U.S. troops on the ground assisting with the evacuation until the final withdrawal, but with just days to go and no movement of the end date, the hopes of many are surely dwindling, Reuters reported.
The White House can’t even give an accurate number on how many American citizens may be stranded in the nation, though officials on Tuesday said it could be between 10,000 and 15,000, The New York Times reported.
The untold number of people are now stuck behind enemy lines and will soon be left only to the mercy of the Taliban because of Biden’s ill-fated military retreat.
Conservative commentator Byron York summed up the ongoing problem with several poignant yet unanswered questions in a tweet Tuesday.
“Questions: How many US citizens are in Afghanistan?” York wrote.
“How many want to leave? Why has US evacuated several times more Afghans than US citizens so far? Do lots of Americans not want to go? Are they ‘stranded’ and difficult to reach? Other reasons?”
Questions: How many US citizens are in Afghanistan? How many want to leave? Why has US evacuated several times more Afghans than US citizens so far? Do lots of Americans not want to go? Are they ‘stranded’ and difficult to reach? Other reasons?
— Byron York (@ByronYork) August 24, 2021
It seems that Biden isn’t worried about Americans who are left or even citizens of our friendly countries, but rather is mostly on track to hastily exit the country.
It’s hard to understand the impetus for such a decision without a proper exit strategy, and it’s even harder to fathom how an American president can leave behind American citizens and the Afghans who helped U.S. forces.
There was not ongoing fighting, there was no defeat, there was no reason to leave except that he wanted to, apparently without regard for any nation that would feel betrayed or citizen who would be left behind.
America is no longer as good as her word, not to our allies or to our enemies — and certainly not to the desperate people who will find themselves alone in enemy territory come Sept. 1.
This has arguably been the worst foreign policy decision — and the worst mismanagement of the continuing fallout — of anything any president has ever done.
And after several other Democratic presidential administrations, that’s saying something.