The mistakes of the withdrawal of the US military from Afghanistan began with the choice of the date: it should have been done during the local winter, when the snow made it difficult to travel through the mountains, and not in the summer, as it ended up happening, analyzes Michael Rubin, former Pentagon adviser in the Middle East.
Rubin, who served under Republican President George W. Bush between 2002 and 2004, criticizes current US leader Joe Biden for failures in Afghanistan and believes that the errors in the exit should undermine the Democrat’s tenure. “Overnight his image changed from that of a foreign affairs expert to that of a man whose incompetence raises questions about his abilities.”
Now a researcher at the American Enterprise Institute’s think tank, Rubin has worked in Afghanistan and Iraq and has written several books on foreign policy in the region.
What can the United States and other countries do now to help the Afghan people not lose their rights? There is a concept among many policy makers that it is always possible to avoid the consequences of your decisions. But when you throw a car off the top of a cliff, it’s too late to say “what are we going to do to save the people inside?” That’s what Joe Biden did.
The best option for the international community now is to help Afghan women escape and resettle elsewhere, because if they stay in the country their fate will be sealed. And the best way to understand the Taliban is to consider the Khmer Rouge regime, which killed 1 million people after taking control of Cambodia in 1975. They prioritized ideology over pragmatism and stood by themselves. didn’t care whether their actions would make others worse. pariah regime.
Will the Taliban manage to form a government and gain international recognition? Between 1996 and 2001, only three countries recognized the Taliban: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Pakistan has always supported them, even when they were an insurgent group, but now China has also said it will recognize a Taliban government. This opens the floodgates for others to do the same.
That said, Vice President Amrullah Saleh remains in Panjshir, inside Afghanistan, and will seek to unite Afghan forces against the Taliban. Before 2001, leader Ahmad Shah Massoud did something similar and succeeded in preventing the Taliban from taking over the whole country. Hope history repeats itself.
Is there a chance that the Afghan people against the Taliban can remove them from power without outside help? Unlikely, especially since Pakistani intelligence services are ready to give the Taliban all the help they need.
Was there a way to improve this withdrawal? Yes, first of all, Biden should have scheduled the outing for the winter, when snow will hit the mountain roads, which would make it difficult for both Taliban fighting and delivery of supplies from Pakistan. . Second, the United States should have retained control of Bagram Air Base, which has multiple runways and a better defensive perimeter, rather than relocating at Kabul Airport to a runway in the middle of the city.
Does the withdrawal symbolize a loss of American power and influence in the world and a step forward by China and Russia in that direction? Certainly. The cowardice of Biden’s withdrawal represents a generational error. In the short term, this not only empowers Russia and China, but also encourages lower powers to take action against the United States.
Will there be impacts on American domestic politics, as during the midterm elections in 2022? Democrats would already have a tough fight. In the last election, many independents as well as some Republicans voted more against Trump than for Biden.
Democrats ‘support for teachers’ unions, which defended closed schools during the pandemic, meant independents were already slowly abandoning them. This dribble exit could turn into a flood due to Biden’s incompetence. Even those who have advocated leaving Afghanistan are in shock at how Biden conducted him. Overnight, his image changed from that of a seasoned foreign affairs expert to that of a man whose incompetence raises questions about his suitability to remain in office.
Michael Rubin, 50
Born in Philadelphia, he majored in biology and history at Yale. He has taught at universities in Israel and Iraq and in training courses for the US military. From 2002 to 2004, he was Pentagon adviser for the Middle East. Later he was editor of the Middle East Quarterly and became a researcher at the American Enterprise Institute.