OPINION

An ignominious surrender in Afghanistan

Rich Kiper
Rich Kiper

Not since World War II have Americans experienced the surrender of American servicemen.

On Bataan 76,000 U.S. and Filipino soldiers surrendered to the Japanese, as did 11,000 American and Filipino soldiers on Corregidor.

Another 7,000 surrendered to the Germans during the Ardennes offensive.

What distinguishes Commander-in-Chief Biden’s defeats is that Biden surrendered the entire U.S. military to enemies we had been fighting for 20 years.

Few Americans disapproved of Biden’s decision to leave Afghanistan. It is the incomprehensibly stupid way he did it. There is a right way and there is Gen. Biden’s way.

On Inauguration Day, the U.S. military had 2,500 combat troops in Afghanistan, an air combat component, counterinsurgency support, an intelligence gathering capability, logistics and advisory support for the Afghan National Army (ANA) and a staffed embassy. Within 24 hours Biden began to dismantle all of that.

The Taliban sweep across the country began in May 2021. Map depictions display the increasing amount of territory the Taliban were capturing. The oft-cited statement that the Taliban overran Afghanistan in 11 days is not true.

Despite having overwhelming air power, Biden did nothing to stop the advance.

By his inaction, Biden allowed thousands of functional vehicles, thousands of assault weapons, machine guns, the latest in night vision goggles and personal information on biometric devices to fall into Taliban hands.

On Aug. 16, 2021, he said, “We planned for every contingency.” What was his contingency for preventing Afghanistan from becoming the best equipped terrorist country in the world?

Russia is considering occupying Bagram Air Base to supply the Taliban and other terrorist organizations.

Biden’s lack of coordination with European allies has led to concern as to whether the U.S. can be trusted.

Only an ignorant president would not understand the foreign policy implications of his decision.

Is it any wonder that Democrats refused to allow Biden to debate Trump over foreign policy?

At the Congressional hearings, the Central Command (CENTCOM) commander told the committee that the ANA would collapse if 2,500 U.S. troops were not left on the ground. Because Trump had left 2,500, there was no way Biden would allow that.

The result was that the CENTCOM commander was left to negotiate with the Taliban as to whether the Taliban or the U.S. military would secure Kabul. Biden opted to let the Taliban secure the city because the president would have had to bring more troops into Afghanistan. That was not going to happen.

In effect, the president of the United States was begging our enemy of 20 years not to interfere with the withdrawal.

The hearings also established that Biden lied when he said the generals had never proposed leaving the 2,500 troops that Trump left. Generals and the secretary of defense stated that the president received such advice. Biden rejected it. The result: no military force, no air base, no intelligence capability on the ground, no counterinsurgency support.

Defense Secretary Austin said that there is “no question” that it will be “more difficult” to identify terrorist threats without intelligence assets on the ground.

Generals described the withdrawal as an Noncombatant Evacuation Operation (NEO). Only a fool executes an NEO by first withdrawing combat troops in a non-permissive environment. The deaths of 13 service members proved it was a non-permissive environment. The fool was Biden who refused to provide troops to protect a NEO.

Without stating who objected, Biden said the advice was “split.” Was he lying?    

He lied when he said Al Qaeda was no longer in Afghanistan.

He lied when he told allies that he would maintain a security presence in Afghanistan.

He lied when he said, “If there’s American citizens left, we’re gonna stay to get them out.”

How could they? Secretary of State Blinken could not process U.S. citizens and others eligible to leave the country because “We have suspended our diplomatic presence in Kabul.”

A State Department official explained, “We do not have personnel on the ground; we do not have air assets in the country; we do not control the airspace.”     

Of course not. Biden had surrendered it all to the Taliban.

What was his contingency for that?

In his surrender address Aug. 31, Biden touted the success of his “over the horizon” strategy. That strategy led to the death of three civilians and seven children.     

Most despicable is that Biden left behind the blood of those who volunteered to fight for our country.

They fought for the American flag.

Biden waved a white flag.

Rich Kiper is a Leavenworth Times columnist.