by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
President Biden is trying to put window dressing on the ongoing catastrophe in Afghanistan.
His envoy is working around the clock to get the Taliban to negotiate a political settlement to its military campaign, but what possible incentive does it have?
Only a few hundred Americans remain in the country, and without the recently evacuated Bagram airbase, the air strikes carried out by coalition forces come from locations far afield, limiting their reach. Now, the inevitable consequences of this withdrawal have crashed down on Afghanistan, bringing on a human tragedy of epic proportions and perhaps a resurgence of international jihadism.
Last month, Biden asserted, “Do I trust the Taliban? No. But I trust the capacity of the Afghan military, who is better trained, better equipped, and more re- — more competent in terms of conducting war.” Yet since Friday, the Taliban has won control of well over half of the country, including nine of its 34 provincial capitals — a number expected to rise in the coming days. The Taliban stepped up its attacks after Biden announced the plan to withdraw in April, but it has only started to retake major cities, such as Kunduz, as the August 31 deadline for completion of the U.S. exit approaches. …
… The Biden administration is continuing to provide logistical and intelligence support to Afghan forces, but U.S. involvement in the country is all but over. The Taliban are likely to continue to advance, and come August 31, it’s not even clear that U.S. forces will conduct more air strikes. So when Biden administration officials say that they’re supporting the Afghan government in pursuit of a negotiated settlement with the Taliban, they’re merely offering an empty talking point to try to pretty up the brutal truth on the ground.