Biden's mistakes and lies will pay the Afghans in blood

(To Antonio Li Gobbi)

The images coming from Kabul are dramatic. Unfortunately we also know that in the provinces the situation is even much more serious than in the capital.

It is not necessary to be a fortune-teller to try to imagine what will happen to those whom the Taliban will deem (rightly or wrongly it is completely irrelevant) too little "Islamic" or too "Western"!

The tens of thousands of people who try to leave the country at the cost of their lives, even by attaching themselves to the wheels of a taking off plane, the mothers and fathers who try to deliver their children to foreign soldiers never seen before to save them from the Taliban regime , even with the certainty that they will no longer see them in their entire life, are images that strike us even more deeply than, perhaps, the images of barbaric executions of our former collaborators.

It was all predictable and expected. However, for the sake of electoral consensus, we have consciously chosen to pretend not to see, to pretend not to understand!

Now the crocodile tears from those who could speak and had a say are only offensive to those millions of Afghans deceived and then betrayed by an American-led faithless West.

In this context, many, like me, the three self-absolving speeches given by Biden to the nation on August 16, 20 and 22 cannot fail to have provoked a profound feeling of disgust.

Too many lies. Too many inconsistencies. Too detached disinterest in human life. A disgusting attempt to clear himself, which could have been understandable by a boy caught stealing for the first time, but not by the President of the United States of America, a power to which those who still look around the world as a reference. they believe in democracy, in freedom, in the defense of rights.

Above all, such a questionable exercise of discharge of their responsibilities it was not acceptable in light of the suffering of the Afghan people!

The most indicative speech was the first, the one given on August 16, the day after the foreseeable fall of Kabul. The subsequent interventions of August 20 and 22, with which Biden clumsily tried to adjust the shot, only confirmed his total contempt for the lives of those Afghans who had trusted the promises of the United States.

Let it be clear that the "real" Biden is that of the first speech. The one in which he tried to deny the evidence of the facts e shift all responsibility onto others.

The second and third speeches present us a less genuine Biden, forced (presumed by his staff) to try to put "color patches" to the risky statements of the previous intervention.

The first was a speech in which the POTUS (President Of The United States) took full responsibility for its decisions. In the second, however, he begins by stating that he has consulted with "The vice president, the secretary Blinken (foreign), the secretary Austin (defense), etc. etc.". The only thing missing was that he said that he had also consulted with the patrons of his tennis club. In short, it is better to involve as many people as possible in the co-responsibility of decisions that are known to be wrong!

The third intervention was all about how the US has been good at evacuating, up to that point, 33.000 people and how no other nation, apart from the US, could have set up such a colossal operation. Too bad that if things had been less roughly planned there would have been no need for this desperate evacuation operation now.

The president also said that nothing would have changed if the eviction of these people had started a month earlier. How laughable this statement is I think anyone can understand.

On August 22, President Biden also presented, as a great idea, that from now on civilian planes will be used to take off from Kabul! The reason why military aircraft have been used up to now, and for years, is because these aircraft have the capability to deceive possible surface-to-air missiles. Obviously the airliner is not equipped with it.

In a period in which intelligence warns about potential ISIS terrorist attacks in the airport area, it seems to me that this choice could give both ISIS and the Taliban a particularly easy and profitable target!

Of particular concern to us Europeans is that Biden has pointed out that NO flights from Kabul will arrive directly in the US. All will call at US bases in Europe or Asia (in Italy Sigonella and Aviano). In these bases all the personnel evacuated in a hurry from Kabul (obviously without any prior checks, given the chaotic way in which the operation is carried out) will be scrupulously screened.


I will certainly not touch on all the aspects that do not return in Biden's three speeches, but I will limit myself only to a few points that have hurt me more than others.

In his first speech Biden did not even deign to mention those nations that for twenty years have sent soldiers to Afghanistan (even without having, unlike the US, any national interest in Central Asia, but only out of a spirit of cohesion and loyalty towards an Ally hit hard on September 11, even though we know well that it was not the Afghans who attacked the Twin towers).

Nations that have suffered human losses with stoicism (in a conflict in which NATO was only a figurehead, while decisions were made on the other side of the Atlantic), nations that have invested enormous sums to support the fight against "Insurgents" (Taliban, ISIS, drug traffickers or other government opponents) and to finance the reconstruction of the Afghan security forces and a nation building, perhaps inefficient but certainly very expensive, based on a road map drawn up in Washington. On the other hand, if you behave like "attendants" you will probably be treated as "attendants".

This aspect may have been offensive to the Allies, but it is certainly not the most relevant. However, after the inevitable complaints that have reached him at least from allies with greater dignity (including Merkel and Macron), in the second intervention Biden tried to adjust the shot, however, exaggerating a bit. In fact, he went so far as to affirm "Our NATO Allies are convinced by our side" (Our NATO Allies are strongly standing with us). It would appear, however, that more than one NATO country (including Italy and the United Kingdom) already had in its time expressed his perplexity regarding the hasty timing of the withdrawal and that, in recent days, many political leaders of NATO countries have been expressing their disagreement with Washington (former Labor Prime Minister Blair has come to define the approach of the US president on withdrawal from Afghanistan).

Disagreements, however, late and out of time! The indirect confirmation of the malaise within the Alliance also comes to us from the disappointing press conference of the NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, at the end of the inconclusive extraordinary meeting of Alliance foreign ministers on 20 August. Press conference during which Stoltenberg repeatedly denied any conflict on the matter between Europeans and the USA ("excusatio non petita ... accusatio manifesta!")

Above all, however, I did not find it acceptable that the blame for the sudden fall of the Afghan cities one after another, as in a tragic game of "dominoes", were entirely unloaded on the Afghans whom Biden accused of "not having fought"! He has declared: “The truth is that everything happened faster than we expected. So what happened? Afghan political leaders surrendered and fled the country. The Afghan army has collapsed, sometimes without trying to fight " (The truth is, this did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated. So what's happened? Afghanistan political leaders gave up and fled the country. The Afghan military collapsed, sometimes without trying to fight)

Biden said about the resistance of the Afghan forces “We have given them every chance to determine their future. What we were unable to provide them was the will to fight for that future " (we gave them every chance to determine their own future. What we could not provide them was the will to fight for that future).

Biden has, in fact, tried to justify both the military and political failure of the US by placing the blame on the Afghan government and security forces. Too bad it was Washington itself that forged in these 20 years both the "central government" (evidently disconnected from the reality and culture of the country) and those armed and police forces structured on Western models that now accuse themselves of not having fought.

It seems to me that the central government in Kabul lacked the authority to catalyze resistance against the Taliban around it. The thousands of US diplomats and intelligence workers who have been in the country for 20 years certainly knew about it. Likewise, I believe the CIA, the Department of State, the Department of Defense and the National Security Advisor should be.

Didn't the military forces fight? We know that the Afghans are a people of fighters. They were trained and followed by mentors USA and NATO for years. They weren't supposed to be that bad, but if they were, they couldn't not know in Washington.

To fight you need motivation and, as a rule, a hope, albeit remote, of success. With the Doha agreement it was clear to everyone that the US had "given" the country to the Taliban. Therefore, it is basically understandable that the motivation to "fight and die" was lacking for a government in which perhaps the majority of Afghans did not believe. Nor, after the Doha agreement, could there be too much hope for a future without the Taliban in power.

Furthermore, the risk associated with a too sudden withdrawal of the intelligence assets and the US close air support used by the Afghans was not recognized. As well as the withdrawal of thousands of "contractors" who had guaranteed the maintenance capacity for the aircraft assets and for the technologically more complex assets. All this just at the start of a fighting season that was easy to predict would be particularly intense (and not just for the favorable season).

The psychological impact on Afghan forces was evidently underestimated. Pointing out, as Biden does, an alleged military superiority of the Afghan government by speaking exclusively in terms of numbers of men at arms and related armaments overlooks (deliberately or not) the most important point: the will to fight for the government. However, even in this case, we can believe that the American and NATO military who trained and trained these forces did not realize the real possibilities of reaction of the Afghan armed forces and police once they were left alone and what the real reaction was. will the people to fight and die for the Ghani government? I do not believe!

I fear that those who inevitably realized it (both in the theater and in Washington) have kept silent for convenience or more likely have been silenced in order not to upset the political power and oppose Biden's "vision". As authoritative US journalistic sources confirm, reports to this effect had reached the president's desk. So Washington and the president certainly could have got a feel for the real situation in Afghanistan.

The cases are therefore only two (and both are not very honorable for the current tenant of the White House): o he lied to his constituents or in the previous weeks and months he refused to consider reports from the theater that contradicted his personal design. I leave it to the readers to decide what the worst option might be!

I found it even more serious that the "Commander in Chief" declared "we did not expect the Taliban to arrive in Kabul so quickly". So he was perfectly aware that he had left the Afghans in "slacks" and that the Taliban would overwhelm the regular forces and take power in the country instead of the rulers. selected from the USA (and perceived as aliens by most of the Afghan populations)! That is to say, we retreated knowing that those populations to whom promises were made for twenty years would be overwhelmed. Only, he finds it extremely annoying that the Afghans were defeated when American soldiers, or rather international television stations, were still in the country.

How ungrateful these Afghans, how insensitive to collapse so soon and force POTUS to interrupt their holidays to justify themselves in the face of a nation that could not imagine the chaos that the US had left in Afghanistan!

Moreover, Biden's most worrying statements are those that seem to deny the history of the US and the history of the intervention in Afghanistan. The US president said “We went to Afghanistan nearly 20 years ago with clear objectives: to get those who attacked us on September 11, 2001, and to make sure that Al Qaeda could not use Afghanistan as a base from which to attack again. We did it. We have severely degraded Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. We never gave up on the hunt for Osama bin Laden and we caught him. " (We went to Afghanistan almost 20 years ago with clear goals: get those who attacked us on Sept. 11, 2001, and make sure Al Qaeda could not use Afghanistan as a base from which to attack us again. We did that. We severely degraded Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. We never gave up the hunt for Osama bin Laden and we got him).

Meanwhile, even on this there may be some perplexity. It is known that Al Qaeda, as well as other Islamist terrorist movements, continues to have very close contacts with the Taliban and various intelligence experts claim Al Qaeda is still very active in Afghanistan today (therefore it does not seem to have been "eradicated").

On this interpretation it could also be objected that if the entire country was occupied to track down Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, only well-localized "surgeries" were conducted to track it in Pakistan and nothing seems to have been done with regard to the big financiers of al Qaeda in Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

However, if the “enemy" had it been only Osama, the retreat could have been conducted as early as 10 years ago, when, however, Biden was vice president.

He further stated"Our mission in Afghanistan was never intended to be nation building. It was never intended to lead to a unified and centralized democracy. Our only vital national interest in Afghanistan remains today what it always has been: preventing a terrorist attack on the American homeland ”. (Our mission in Afghanistan was never supposed to have been nation-building. It was never supposed to be creating a unified, centralized democracy. Our only vital national interest in Afghanistan remains today what it has always been: preventing a terrorist attack on American homeland ).

If this had really been the case, it is not clear why after driving out the Taliban, with the considerable support of the "armies of the north" in 2002 and 2003, the US remained in the country, because they tried to forge the central government by also ensuring that presidents followed one another (first Karzai and later Ghani) who were culturally close to America (and therefore perceived as "foreign bodies" by the majority of Afghans). Why the much heralded commitment to civil rights and women's rights? Why the same onerous reconstruction effort by the armed and security forces? Something is wrong!

It seems to me that the message that the US has certainly constantly tried to send during the Bush and Obama presidencies was precisely that they wanted to build a "better" Afghanistan. In fact, I don't remember that the intervention was ever advertised by showing the Taliban killed (an aspect that indeed we tried to hide) while I remember countless spots of girls who could finally go to school, of reconstruction works, of free elections, women candidates for political office, etc.

However, if the US (and NATO) mission cannot be the "nation-building"Perhaps at NATO in Brussels someone should question the persistence of US support for operations in Iraq and Kosovo, which instead seem to be aimed precisely at"nation building”And which have a duration similar to that of Afghanistan (Kosovo since 1999 and Iraq since 2003).

Even more worrying is that Biden stated on August 16 that from now on he "US will only intervene where their national security interests are at stake" (This is not in our national security interest).

Therefore, they will not intervene when it comes ONLY to defend “ideals, values, common principles"? Too bad that the common willingness to fight to defend "ideals, values, common principles" is the glue on which the Alliance should be built!

Atlantic Alliance which, when everyone thought it was dead after the "fall of the wall", managed brilliantly to regenerate itself from a defensive alliance (in the era of the Cold War) to a formidable tool for crisis management and effective intervention in response to crises (in Balkans at the end of the last century and at the beginning of this), but which now may not survive the loss of credibility resulting from the debacle Afghan.

Let's be honest. The White House's initial motivation for going to Afghanistan was essentially domestic politics. It was necessary to show the domestic electorate that anyone who hits US soil is punished. What then should be the future of the country after Rumsfeld's "shock and awe" policy was not clear in Washington in 2001-2002 (and I fear it was not entirely clear either afterwards). On this Biden, after all, was sincere. However, then things changed radically.

That said, it is undeniable that none of the successive US presidencies since 11/XNUMX (Bush, Obama, Trump and Biden) had a genuine interest in reconstituting a "new" Afghanistan. This is demonstrated by the sinusoidal trend of the US commitment in the country, much more attentive to the mood of the domestic electorate, in view of the biennial elections (presidential and mid-term elections) than to the progress of operations on the ground.

In this perspective, the recurring promises of the tenant on duty in the White House to bring the contingents home by a certain date have done nothing but confirm to the "insurgents" that our commitment was fixed-term and that it was enough for them to have patience a little longer.

A real disaster for the credibility of both the US (which are in fact abdicating the role of world superpower) and their European Allies and NATO who have delegated any decision to Washington following them in this one debacle.

In the press conference of 20 August, in addition to magnifying a non-existent coordination and a strong harmony with the allies, Biden devoted himself to illustrating the successes and problems associated with the ongoing evacuation from Kabul. Operation that I would define to be a NEO (non-combatant evacuation operation) conducted in an environment controlled by the enemy (therefore environment not permissive) where in fact the US and the Allies can only do what the Taliban allow them to do.

Let's be clear: roads and all means of communication are controlled by the Taliban. The US and the Allies (which in any case each operate on their own) are unable to control either the areas where the personnel to be taken out of the country can gather safely or the routes to the airport. It is inevitable, at this point, that many of those who have truly collaborated with the Western powers will remain at the mercy of the Taliban cutthroats, while people are transported to Europe whom the Taliban have allowed to arrive at the airport or who, by a stroke of luck, documents issued by some compliant NGO are in hand (people who, in relation to what Biden said on August 22, will then be left in Europe!)

The US and the Allies are stuck at the airport as in a sort of modern Fort Alamo, submerged by thousands of Afghans (some former aid workers but many others not) who want to leave the country. It goes without saying that only those who decide the Taliban (who can open or close the access routes as they prefer) arrive at the airport. It is also assumed that flights will be able to land and take off from Kabul only as long as the Taliban will allow it. It would not be a problem (especially with the US-made arsenal now in their possession) to shoot down landing or take-off planes. And with Biden's promised civilian flights now, it would be even easier. It would take a downed plane and a few hundred innocent victims to shake the Oval Office and the Chancelleries of half of Europe.

Why hasn't the Taliban done it yet? For two simple reasons: for the moment still does not suit him and, furthermore, we know very well that they are not allowing us to carry out these flights without a rich reward.

Just to note: the US currently has 6.000 troops in Kabul and risks having to send more. In the last period, before the withdrawal, they had 2.500 in all of Afghanistan. Furthermore, the president had to admit that he doesn't know exactly how many thousands of American citizens are still in Afghanistan and where exactly they are!

Particularly worrying and further indication of the chaos with which the US is conducting this activity (which I fear will not end well for the many who cannot be evacuated) was the president's final invitation: "I would ask every American to join me in praying for the women and men risking their lives on the ground in the service of our nation".

That is to say… we just have to pray!

Unfortunately the Afghans will pay, often with the blood, superficiality and improvisation with which the US has conducted this retreat.

Photo: Twitter / US Marine Corps / US DoD / US Army / US Air Force / NATO