There’s no doubt that President Joe Biden’s sudden withdrawal from Afghanistan was an unmitigated disaster. Maybe that’s because his administration was figuring it all out as it went along.
Notes leaked from meetings in the White House Situation Room before the withdrawal of American forces reveal just how unprepared Biden was for the task, the Daily Caller reported. The meeting just two weeks before the deadline reveals how precious little was hashed out in advance.
The notes published by Axios tell the story of bureaucratic deadlock in an urgent situation that the administration should have planned for well before the Aug. 14 meeting. By Aug. 15, the Taliban was already poised to retake Kabul though at the eleventh hour, there was still no plan on what to do with the people who would be evacuated after two decades at war.
Biden had made the huge blunder of assuming Afghanistan’s own forces could protect against the inevitable onslaught from the Taliban. However, his advisors had seen the writing on the wall.
“I kept being told by people in the [White House] the thing they were most concerned about was the optics of a chaotic evacuation,” said Matt Zeller, a former CIA officer who sounded the alarm in February 2021 that Afghans who assisted Americans would need protection. “They treated us like we were Chicken Little. They didn’t believe the sky was falling,” Zeller said.
“On the 13th of July, we offered to work with them to help evacuate our partners,” he added. “We all saw this disaster coming before the inevitable occurred. They didn’t get back to us until Aug. 15, the day Kabul fell.”
Similarly, Obama-era deputy NATO representative in Afghanistan Mark Jacobson saw that Biden was woefully unprepared. “That so much planning, prioritizing, and addressing of key questions had not been completed, even as Kabul was about to fall, underscores the absence of adequate interagency planning.”
Biden is responsible for the disaster in Afghanistan because he didn’t do the most basic planning necessary for such an operation. The hubris of this president made him think it would be an easy political win. Instead, it’s become an albatross around his neck — and he deserves all the derision that comes with it.