Amsterdam, Netherlands: After the takeover of Taliban on Kabul, withdrawal of US troops has been the biggest question among the Americans.
A Europe-based think tank has found the decision to leave Afghanistan “inexplicable”, at a juncture when tensions are high with both of the US’ major rivals, China and Russia, located at Afghanistan’s doorsteps.
“How and why such a situation was acceptable to the two Presidents is perplexing, especially after the US had invested so much in Afghanistan for twenty long years. A lot of Americans also share this confusion, as a Reuters/Ipsos poll revealed this week,” said European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS) in its commentary.
Biden’s popularity has suffered a dent after the lightning recapture of Afghanistan by the Taliban. Multiple polls showed that Americans were in favor of continuing military mission in Afghanistan, the think tank said.
Staunchly defending his move to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan, President Joe Biden earlier this month admitted that the situation in the country unfolded more quickly than America anticipated.
During a nationwide address from the White House, in his first speech, after Kabul fell to the Taliban and the Ashraf Ghani government collapsed, Biden pinned the blame for the sudden collapse of the country on the Afghan leaders, saying they gave up and fled the country.
According to the EFSAS, Biden’s use of examples of corrupt Afghan politicians and the Army, to justify the US’ decision to withdraw is incorrect. If Biden inherited a terrible deal with the Taliban from Trump, what Ghani and the elected Afghan government had to swallow was far worse and demeaning, EFSAS said.
“They had no say whatsoever as the US, which had put in place the democratic system that had brought the Afghan politicians to power in the first place, negotiated their downfall in Doha with the Taliban, the common sworn enemy that the US had vowed to destroy,” the think tank added.
It further states that the Taliban was under no compulsion to take the intra-Afghan talks to a conclusion as per the agreement reached with the US in Doha last year.
According to EFSAS, the Taliban had free rein to do what it wished, as long as that stopped short of targeting coalition troops. This US deal with the Taliban sealed the Afghan government’s fate much more definitively than any other factor had, it added.
“In any case, the fact of the matter remains that the US did not seek the concurrence of the Afghan government or the army before taking the decision to leave Afghanistan. Even if only out of respect for trillions of dollars of its taxpayer’s money, the least the US could have done was to ask the Afghan government and army whether they were prepared for a US departure and confident of holding on to the country on their own,” the think tank said.
With the visuals of the Kabul airport debacle recorded in the history books, the think tan states that there is little doubt that the confidence of countries that have committed themselves to democracy will be shaken and eroded by the recent happenings in Afghanistan. “It is going to have ramifications not just for Afghanistan. America’s adversaries know they can threaten us, and our allies are questioning this morning whether they can count on us for anything,” said Republican Representative Liz Cheney said in an ABC interview.