Joe Biden has stuck with both feet in his pledge to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan, despite the rapid advance of the Taliban and deteriorating security in the predominantly Muslim country. “I do not regret my decision,” he said on Tuesday as the extremist group reclaims areas of Afghan territory formerly controlled by democratically elected President Ashraf Ghani.
“Afghan leaders must unite. We have lost thousands of Americans [na guerra]. They [afegãos] they have to fight for themselves, for their nation, ”added Biden, who is still trying to negotiate a peace deal with the Taliban, viewed with skepticism in the White House.
The political costs that escalating violence in Afghanistan will have on Biden are still unclear, but the US president is building on massive popular support for a troop withdrawal – one of the few themes that unites Democrats and Republicans – to keep August 31 as the military return deadline.
On Wednesday evening, Biden received details from his national security team about the worsening situation in Afghanistan and the need to send 3,000 troops to help evacuate 1,400 employees from the US embassy in Kabul. He then authorized the emergency operation, announced Thursday (12), and saw criticism increase exponentially.
Parts of the international press, foreign policy experts and some US military have called the evacuation move shameful, dangerous and humiliating for the world’s greatest power.
His closest advisers, however, are not questioning Biden’s decision to continue to withdraw, eyeing an anti-people’s war trend that has crystallized for years in the country.
A poll published by The Hill site shows that 73% of Americans support the withdrawal of troops from Afghan territory, while 27% say they are against the measure.
The survey, carried out at the beginning of July, reinforces the supra-partisanship of the theme: 81% of Democrats are in favor of returning the military to the United States, while 61% of Republicans have the same opinion. Among voters who say they are independent, 77% support the order to end the longest war in American history.
Before Biden, it was Donald Trump who rode this public perception. In September of last year, the Republican initiated a deal with the Taliban, aimed at the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan this year.
Biden continued talks and on April 14 announced he would end the endless war until September 11, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. He then extended the deadline to August 31, which encouraged the Taliban to move forward quickly.
Two weeks ago, the Islamic fundamentalist group – which ruled most of Afghanistan from 1996 until it was ousted from power by the 2001 US invasion – launched its strongest offensive in decades. years. As of Thursday, it already dominated around 80% of the country, including the two largest cities after Kabul, with an increasingly imminent takeover of the capital.
Despite the Taliban offensive, members of the Biden government continue with the official rhetoric that it is possible to sign a peace deal that ends violence and divides power in Afghanistan, but even the most optimistic already admit that the situation today is very difficult for that. happen.
Positive rhetoric is one way of trying to save part of the failed American project in the country, which has lasted nearly 20 years, at the cost of billions and thousands of military and civilian lives. Moreover, it opens a way amid criticism that by withdrawing the United States abandoned its allies in the hands of the Taliban.
U.S. Secretaries of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke with the President of Afghanistan on Thursday and, according to a State Department statement, said the United States remains committed to supporting a political solution to conflict.
According to the AFP news agency, the Afghan government has already proposed a “distribution of power in exchange for an end to the violence”, given the worsening situation in the country. But, now advantaged, the Taliban, who could previously consider the proposal, must reject it.
Former U.S. government advisers who follow the issue say the U.S. must admit the failed peace deal and invest in sanctions against key Taliban leaders through the UN in an effort to deny the international legitimacy of the extremist group.
Biden has yet to set an action and damage containment strategy as of August 31, but he knows that allowing a new military offensive, for example, outside the borders of Afghanistan will be a costly and logistically step. difficult, not to mention the political cost.
Some Republican leaders are already starting to repeat the rhetoric that the troop withdrawal could pose a risk of a resurgence of terrorist organizations and threaten the security of the United States, in an attempt to change the social temperature – after 20 years in which the dominated terrorism In American politics, people are less and less interested and involved in this type of debate in the country.
From the White House, Biden made his decisions hoping to earn credit for ending one of the Eternal Wars, which had less and less American membership, but he knows that public opinion is volatile and should not lose track of the political risks that can if you draw later.