Politicians, journalists, and former members of the deposed government in Afghanistan received on Tuesday with indignation the speech of U.S. President Joe Biden, who defended his decision to withdraw American troops while the country fell into the hands of the Taliban.
“It’s painful to watch Biden mumble through his speech and only one thing becomes clear: he still doesn’t get it. It’s not about leaving, it’s about how the Americans ‘rushed the race,'” Saad Mohseni, CEO of the Moby Media group, to which the Afghan TV channel Tolo belongs, said in a message on Twitter.
Beyond the withdrawal of international forces from Afghan territory, after 20 years fighting America’s longest war, several sectors have questioned the abrupt way in which American troops left military bases, creating confusion in the logistics of operations.
“Leave, but do it responsibly,” the media group’s director added.
Biden defended the U.S. commitment in this conflict, whose objective was to capture those responsible for the 9/11 attack, and to make sure that Al Qaeda would not attack another nation again, so the “civil war,” to be resolved by the Afghans, is not in Washington’s national interest, he said.
“This is not a civil war, this is a proxy war. You let us (Afghans) and all Americans down. History will remember your irresponsible retreat,” RTA media network CEO Ismail Miakhail also posted.
“Shame on you for such a stupid and irresponsible speech,” he added.
According to Afghan government officials and members of the security forces, the Americans left their bases in many cases without explaining to their Afghan counterpart how to operate the defense equipment and without time to cover the areas to be defended.
This was the case of Bagram Air Base, a U.S. military stronghold for two decades, control of which was ceded to Afghanistan on July 2 as part of the withdrawal process. However, according to the Afghans, the Americans left without even giving access codes to keep it operational.
The fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban was completed on August 15 after the seizure of Kabul and the flight of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in secret and without an official resignation, a move that left the country disappointed.
The leader of Afghanistan’s Jamiat-e Islami party, Salahuddin Rabbani, today compared Ghani’s “humiliating and shameful flight” to the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“Sneaking away in the dark of night while betraying a nation is something we witnessed at the Bagram base just a few weeks ago,” Rabbani said.
“It would have been much less costly if (when the U.S. left Bagram) they had taken him (Ghani) as well,” he stressed.
Former Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh said it is “useless” now to argue with Biden about Afghanistan: “let him digest it,” and called on Afghans to prove that “Afghanistan is not Vietnam and that the Taliban are not remotely like the Vietcong,” calling on them to join the anti-Taliban resistance.
While Ghani’s decision to flee with the Taliban besieging the capital has also been almost unanimously repudiated by Afghans, former Deputy Minister of Women in his administration Hosna Jalil said today that there are probably things left unsaid behind what happened.
In Afghanistan “we have not failed militarily, but we failed politically. Before blaming our ANDSF (Afghan Defense and Security Forces), think twice,” said Jalil, justifying the defeat of an army of more than 300,000 men in a matter of weeks.