by Austin Bay
August 25, 2021
President Joe Biden has decided to stick with his self-imposed Aug. 31 Afghanistan withdrawal deadline.
Except now, it's the Taliban's deadline. Taliban leader Suhail Shaheen called Aug. 31 "a red line. If the U.S. or UK ... seek additional time to continue evacuations -- the answer is no ... " Shaheen called an extension "continuing the occupation," which will "provoke a (Taliban) reaction."
Biden not only surrendered to terrorists spouting bombastic threats, but he also capitulated to the revived murderous and culturally misogynistic regime that gave al-Qaida terrorists a base to plot the September 11, 2001, attacks that killed 2,977 Americans and injured over 6,000.
Biden's humiliating blunder has deadly consequences for those left behind, including American citizens and deserving Afghans promised protection and safe harbor for their service to U.S. and NATO forces.
Mid-term, democracies worldwide will confront reinvigorated militant Islamist terrorist organizations (now armed with U.S. equipment). Communist China is already arguing Biden's bugout demonstrates American promises are unreliable. Long-term, Taiwan and South Korea take note.
No-Brainer No. 1, Biden: Don't leave a war zone until you've secured every American citizen. As of Aug. 24, U.S. citizens remain in Helmand province, the city of Kandahar and in Kabul -- but you don't know how many.
No-Brainer No. 2: The military withdraws last, after you evacuate citizens and eligible foreign nationals. No-Brainer No. 3: When altered ground conditions threaten American lives, even a subpar president demands flexibility and backs the demand with power. A third-rate piker president would have told the Taliban, "We tell you when we withdraw, you don't tell us."
No-Brainer No. 4, Joe: I just gave you an alternative Course of Action. To avoid fourth-rate failure status, you could still take it, even after your absurd Aug. 24 speech.
Apparently, some ultra-partisan Democrats still believe only Republicans deplore Biden's fecklessness and demand a deadline extension. The "woke elite" are overdue for a reality wake-up. Video of Taliban thugs brutalizing civilians and replay of traumatic cell phone pleas from stranded Americans and Afghan partners has begun to penetrate their protective Beltway media bubble world.
Foreign criticism is fact-based and from the gut. Britain, France, Germany, Japan, India and other allies and friendly nations are disgusted and aghast. Britain has citizens stranded in Afghanistan -- a major reason Prime Minister Boris Johnson declared Biden betrayed Britain. According to the PM, Biden failed to consult Britain and NATO allies. Britain wants an extension in order to evacuate citizens and will deploy soldiers to rescue them.
Wasn't it former President Donald Trump who alienated American allies?
On No-Brainer No. 5: Joe, you didn't have to capitulate. The Trump administration's February 2020 withdrawal deal put conditions on the Taliban. Denying Afghanistan to al-Qaida and Iraq and Syria to the Islamic State group were explicit conditions.
On Aug. 23, Biden's national security adviser, a sallow character named Jake Sullivan, warned that Islamic State group affiliate, ISIS-Khorasan Province (ISIS-K) operates in Afghanistan and is a "serious threat." After his admission, Sullivan issued a preplanned excuse, claiming the U.S. can combat ISIS-K from outside Afghanistan.
Right. Remote war. Sullivan, then Biden (Aug. 24) extolled it. But they spewed words disconnected from geographic reality, intelligence limitations and the regional political distrust their withdrawal debacle creates.
From my column last week: "Landlocked Afghanistan presents a problem. The closest air bases are six to seven hours away. Guard duty in Afghanistan means -- or meant -- maintaining an on-the-ground presence, primarily to support Afghan forces and refuel allied aircraft, but also to occasionally conduct U.S. air and ground raids on high-value targets throughout the region."
No-Brainer No. 6: Remote war requires aircraft to overfly enemies (Iran), or nations shaken by the Biden bugout's incompetence and moral disgrace. Given Biden's cowardice, which nations will let America use their territory to launch lethal strikes? Show me an Afghan villager -- other than a double agent -- willing to provide the U.S. with intelligence on terrorist activity.
As for China -- its embassy in Kabul remains open and ready for business.