AFGHANISTAN: Where Evil Explodes in the Wake of Incompetence

by | Aug 26, 2021 |

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The huge human tragedy now unfolding in Afghanistan was totally avoidable and is therefore unforgivable. The cost of human lives will be huge.

When U.S. President Joe Biden began withdrawing our troops from Afghanistan, more than 17,500 Americans, who were known to be in Afghanistan, became hostages to the Taliban overnight. Biden has made it clear that he is willing to leave the thousands of Americans still stranded behind enemy lines in order to meet the arbitrary deadline of August 31 for final U.S. withdrawal. It was a deadline that Biden himself set, and that the Taliban are now holding him to. Biden, the President of what is supposed to be the greatest country in the world, has allowed the Taliban, our sworn enemy, to dictate the terms of our withdrawal. He has completely capitulated to the Taliban, a terrorist group that has now taken over all of Afghanistan, with our help and support. 

A historic American international screw-up by an incompetent and delusional administration has changed the conduct of international relations for the foreseeable future. Fueled by lies, half-truths, and evasions coming from the President of the United States and his spokespeople, America has been shamed and humiliated. The President has said unequivocally on national television that he has the support of our allies in NATO and the G7, but he lied. They do not support his botched drawdown in Afghanistan. Instead, he has managed to bring down the infrastructure of the free world all by himself, and because of his arrogance and stubbornness, the world is a much more dangerous place today than it was only a month ago.  

Abandoned!

On August 23rd, the State Department published a “final message” for all the Americans stranded in the country. The message said:

“AMERICAN CITIZENS ONLY – This is the final message for American citizens who wish to depart Kabul. American citizens who choose to remain in Afghanistan should be prepared to arrange their own departure without assistance from the U.S. government.”

The warning was deleted soon afterward, but the message was clear.

But what about the Americans who are not in Kabul but in scattered locations around the country? They received this message:  

“Because of security threats outside the gates of Kabul airport, we are advising U.S. citizens to avoid traveling to the airport and to avoid airport gates at this time unless you receive individual instructions from a US government representative to do so.”

Then, on August 25, the full impact of Biden’s blatant delusion and ongoing mismanagement of our Afghanistan mission became crystal clear. Biden told Americans that the Taliban had been “taking steps to work with us,” but then he warned of what he called “the acute and growing risk of an attack” by ISIS-K, an ISIS affiliate in Afghanistan. He strangely used this as an excuse to stick firmly to his August 31st deadline!

Attack!

On August 26, Americans, who were still scrambling to leave the country at the Kabul airport, received this warning:

“US citizens who are at the Abbey Gate, East Gate, or North Gate now should leave immediately.” 

There was no further explanation. But rumors in intelligence circles, supported by a British report, buzzed-about a credible threat of an ISIS-K attack at the airport, where at least five thousand people were still milling around, hoping for transport out of the country.

Within hours, at least two explosions occurred at the airport. Two suicide bombers, presumed to be members of ISIS-K, were reported to be responsible for the bombs, one at the Abbey Gate, the main gate at the eastern side of the airport, and the other at the nearby Baron Hotel. At the time of this writing, it was reported that the first bomb killed at least thirteen U.S. soldiers and wounded at least 15 others, but officials warned that these numbers could still change. In addition, at least 60 Afghans, including a number of children, were known to have been killed, and dozens of others were also wounded in the blast.

Asvaka News

Officials called these complex attacks, although they offered no further clarification. But intelligence sources say that after the blasts, ISIS-K gunmen opened fire at the people still at the airport. As of this writing, the news and the numbers are still coming in.

Biden’s Biggest Blunder – Abandon Your Own

What happened to “We never leave anyone behind”? What happened to “We never negotiate with terrorists”?  Why do the people who are leading this country keep lying to us? Why are they breaking our own laws and traditions to support their demented narrative?

Biden’s Administration ignored the most fundamental rules of disengagement. First you evacuate the civilians, citizens of your country, and your allies, and ensure that they are safely out of harm’s way. Then, when they are safe, you move out all your valuable equipment, your tanks and your planes, and your communications devices, and especially the technology that facilitates your advantage so that it does not fall into the hands of the enemy. Then, and only then, do you move your troops out and leave the country.

Biden even had a blueprint for such an evacuation, planned by the Trump team before he took office. Unlike Biden’s flawed operations, Trump’s withdrawal plan was conditions-based and depended on the real-time situation on the ground. But because anything connected to Trump had to be rejected at all cost, Biden’s team did just that. 

According to documents leaked on August 18, Biden issued a White House directive on June 11, in which he ordered Deputy Secretary of State Brian P. McKeon to cancel former President Trump’s “Contingency and Crisis Response Bureau” program for an orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan. Biden did this without the required notification to Congress.

And then, under the incompetent and highly political leadership of General Mark Milley, Biden unleashed a hornets’ nest of Taliban rage and revenge upon the Afghan people and against our own citizens, who were unable to reach the airport in Kabul from where they were, many of them hundreds of miles away.

Biden’s team was forced to admit that they had no contingency plan to get American citizens out of Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. They couldn’t even tell the press how many Americans were still in the country when the withdrawal began.

Government spokespeople boasted about the thousands of people who have been airlifted out of Afghanistan since the beginning of the evacuation. But they never said how many of them were Americans. An example of this duplicity was a report on August 18 that a U.S. plane airlifted some 2,000 people out of the Kabul airport. But in between the lines was the lie. Because of those 2,000 people, only 325 of them were Americans. Most of the rest were Afghan citizens with Special Immigrant visas who were going to safe military bases in America. 

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby justified this when he said, “We want to take care of our fellow Americans. . . .But we also want to take care of at-risk Afghans and special immigrant visa applications. We’re not holding up a plane just to fill it with Americans and then sending it off”.  

Our government simply does not seem to understand or care that its first responsibility is to its citizens, not to foreign nationals. The situation is far beyond serious. It is as terrifying as it is tragic. And it still gets worse.

New Numbers Don’t Add Up

According to one unnamed “U.S. official,” on August 25, 3,500 Americans had been evacuated and up to 1,500 remain in Afghanistan. But those numbers just don’t add up. Because according to the State Department and the U.S Embassy in Afghanistan, there were 17,526 Americans who were known to be in the country at the beginning of August. Our Embassy staff alone had about 1,400 Americans in Kabul. 

So what happened to the other 12,526 Americans? The shocking truth is that after the secret evacuation of Bagram AFB took place on July 5, they had no secure way to get out of the country. And Biden told them that he could not assure them of safe passage. He left them to fend for themselves. 

This inexplicable mismanagement and total abandonment of Americans in harm’s way abroad is criminal. What should have been an orderly evacuation from Afghanistan, left the Taliban in control of the country. And it gave al Qaeda and ISIS a golden opportunity to reconstitute their operations inside Afghanistan.    

Biden assured us that no Americans would be airlifted from the roof of the U.S. Embassy as they did in Saigon. But this is much worse than Saigon. Not only are we now leaving behind thousands of Americans who are trapped and have no way of getting safely to the one airport that can help them escape from the fury of the Taliban, but we also left behind – intact – a fully functional airbase at Bagram, which was an installation the size of a small city, that was once home to 100,000 U.S. personnel.

Reaping the Whirlwind

When we ran away from Bagram in the middle of the night, we began a cascade of events that gave the Taliban everything they needed to wage a massive war against the people of Afghanistan and their American defenders. In all, we left behind 75,000 vehicles, 600,000 weapons, 208 aircraft, including Blackhawk helicopters, enough to supply an army! And there was little or no effort to recover any of the weapons and equipment.

This is beyond criminal negligence, and it is inexcusable. We left thousands of fully equipped civilian and military vehicles, small weapons, and enough ammunition to make them useful for quite a long time, weapons that the Taliban are now using against us as we try to carry out a botched rescue mission. We also left cutting-edge technology that the Taliban would never have been able to get otherwise, and which they have already passed on to the Chinese.

We also left a prison full of 5,000 criminals and terrorists (including a former high-value prisoner in Guantanamo), whom the Taliban immediately released, and who have now joined forces with the terrorists. That was just in Bagram, and it was just the beginning. 

Bargaining in Bad Faith

What the Biden Administration did not tell us was that they, who had vilified President Trump for negotiating with the Taliban, had themselves been in secret discussions with the terrorists since March, months before the world turned its attention back to this hotspot. Back then, Biden’s team told the Taliban that the evacuation would begin on May 1, and the last of troops would be gone by 9/11, 2021. That was all the Taliban needed to hear; their surge to retake Afghanistan began in April.

What our government also did not tell us was that our envoy to the talks with the Taliban in Doha, Zalmay Khalilzad, was there to negotiate with the Taliban regarding our withdrawal. We went to Doha on our hands and knees to beg them not to destroy Afghanistan. We issued weak, empty threats of international isolation if they took the country over by force. Our ‘negotiators’ really thought that the Taliban was interested in détente. Khalilzad begged the Taliban to spare our Embassy, not to take over the country before December 2021, and to allow us to get our citizens out of Afghanistan safely.

The Taliban agreed, of course. Why not? And the Biden team believed them. But anyone with a lick of sense and experience with Islamist terrorists knows that you can’t negotiate with them. In fact, it is against American policy and law to ever negotiate with terrorists. And with good reason. 

Because once we left Bagram, all those promises were broken – of course! Their ruthlessness emerged as they took over most of the country – using brutal force – in a matter of weeks. And then they went door to door, searching for those who had helped our troops, or those they thought had helped our troops, or for Americans, they thought had wronged them in some way, or those whom they simply wanted to abuse. 

So, as a result of the President’s duplicity, naïveté, and horrendous decisions, the Taliban destroyed in eleven days what it had taken the U.S. and its allies twenty years to accomplish.

China and Pakistan – The Secret Army Behind Taliban’s Success

How did the Taliban, that diverse force of tribal leaders and their rag-tag groups of followers, succeed in conquering a country a quarter of a million square miles of some of the most forbidding terrain in the world, in less than two weeks? 

The biggest secret, at the very heart of this mission of the Taliban, is the support the Taliban has been receiving from China and Pakistan, their partners from the very beginning of this takeover. That may explain how it was so well coordinated and ultimately so successful. 

China has been involved by sending its special forces to assist the Taliban, and its intelligence officers are also in Afghanistan, helping the Taliban in its intelligence operations. China has a clear mission itself:  the Chinese government wants access to the rare-earth minerals and metals that are embedded in the rugged mountains of Afghanistan, including silver, copper, iron, barite, sulfur, cobalt, lead, zinc, and 1.4 million metric tons of rare-earth elements, including lithium, a metal that is essential for electric vehicles as well as for developing battery storage technology. These deposits may be worth more than $1 trillion, and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which governs China with a mighty fist, has already committed some $25 billion for the exclusive rights to those minerals and precious metals. That control will allow China to dominate the rare earth mineral and precious metal markets worldwide for decades to come. China’s interjection into the Taliban war has helped the terrorists immeasurably, largely because it suits China’s own designs for world domination as well. 

On the other hand, Pakistan has been a partner with the Taliban for a long time and has wanted the Americans out of Afghanistan for two decades. In particular, the Haqqani network, which is considered to be the most lethal and sophisticated terrorist group in the region, has been partnering with the Taliban in attacks against US and Afghan forces in Afghanistan for a long time.

Massive Biden Mismanagement

On July 8, Biden said, ”The likelihood that there’s going to be a Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely.” Yet here we are. The Taliban was already flexing its muscles when the Biden Administration laid out its plans on the table right in front of them. 

When do you ever tell the enemy what you are about to do – before you do it? Yet, that is exactly what Biden’s team did. They told the Taliban ‘negotiators’ exactly what we were going to do. And then we did it!

And now that they have captured nearly all of the country in less than two weeks, they are well into their favored activity of torturing and murdering all those they don’t like. Among the many valuable things they could get from the fleeing Americans was a list of all those Afghanis who assisted them – translators and interpreters, teachers, guides, and many more. And now the Taliban terrorists are going door to door, tracking them down and murdering them in the most horrible ways – in their homes, and in front of their families. Killing them, then most of their families, and, if they have pretty young daughters, some as young as nine or ten, kidnapping them to provide sexual services for the Taliban men. This is what we have unleashed on the Afghan people. 

What does the future hold?

Afghanistan will never be a democratic country. There are many there – mostly in the cities – who would like it to be, women who want to be educated and men who would like to live free of terror. But the vast majority of Afghanistan is made up of tribal regions, governed by tribal leaders who fight with each other and cannot conceive of a unified country. They live by tribal laws, governed by the most extreme and primitive expression of Sharia (radical Muslim law). Women are property, and freedom is just a word. It is a brutal and unforgiving life, matched only by the cruel and unforgiving mountains which command most of the country. 

So here we are – with the worst possible outcome. Biden and his administration have created a catastrophe of Biblical proportions in Afghanistan. It is the result of their delusions, their callousness, their stupidity, their greed, and their unwillingness to learn from history. Joe Biden and his henchmen are rapidly destroying all that is good about America. 

America has been deeply humiliated by the man who is supposed to be at the helm, who appears to be cognitively impaired, and who is nevertheless apparently making decisions that mean life and death to countless other people – including thousands of our own citizens – half a world away. 

What has happened in Afghanistan is criminal, and the people responsible for it must be removed from positions of power before they destroy the very foundations of American democracy.

Biden said he would abide by the Taliban’s dictate to evacuate by 31 August. Biden has sentenced thousands of Americans and our allies to death at the hands of the 9/11 terrorists. He needs to be removed, as do all the people who helped him to implement this grotesque and pernicious strategy. 

Biden must be impeached. And he must be prosecuted.

Our exit from Afghanistan was not an insoluble problem. It had to be well thought out. Well planned. And well-executed. It was none of these things. We should never have negotiated with the Taliban, and certainly not from a position of weakness. Any discussion that we had with them had to come from a position of strength, and this required sticking to a plan that gave the President the upper hand at all times. There was such a blueprint that Biden rejected. It could have been done. But it wasn’t. 

There is no way to undo the damage that he has already done, to bring back the lives already lost or those about to be lost, but there is a way to help save those who can still be saved. It will take tremendous political courage, and determined military muscle, but it can be done. We have the power and a growing urgency to use it. But now, as the full impact of Biden’s incompetence becomes clearer every day, the world has just become a much more dangerous place, and we are running out of time. 

Ilana Freedman

Ilana Freedman is a veteran intelligence analyst with more than thirty years in the field. She was trained in Israel, where she lived and worked for sixteen years. After returning to the U.S., she served as CEO of Gerard Group International in Massachusetts, providing major corporations and government agencies with intelligence-led support for their homeland security programs. Her global network of specialists and field assets has provided her with an ongoing resource of critical, real-time intelligence and domain expertise. Today, Ilana is an independent consultant and author of hundreds of articles on terrorism and the geopolitical landscape. She has written four books on Islamic terrorism, and is currently working on a comprehensive book on China - past, present, and future.

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