See update for August 30, 2021, at end of post.
I’m in the early middle of moving, so I’m going to try to keep this brief.
Yes, Joe Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan has been awful. There are specific reasons this happened. And yes, the future certainly appears bleak and terrifying in Afghanistan. (I am neither optimistic nor pessimistic about the potential for Afghan resistance to Taliban rule; I know it exists but I cannot foresee its future.) Read more
- Associated Press, “The Latest: Pentagon asks airlines for help moving evacuees,” August 22, 2021, https://apnews.com/article/afghanistan-kabul-evacuation-3e03946e8f84540927761d0b83efd769; Anne Gearan, “Biden blames others for swift collapse in Afghanistan, defends his decision to withdraw troops,” Washington Post, August 16, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/biden-afghanistan-speech/2021/08/16/1bdff5e6-feaf-11eb-ba7e-2cf966e88e93_story.html; Susannah George and Bryan Pietsch, “Taliban enters Kabul, leaving Afghan government on brink of collapse,” Washington Post, August 15, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/08/15/afghanistan-taliban-kabul-embassy-jalalabad/; Susannah George et al., “Afghan government collapses as Taliban sweeps in, U.S. sends more troops to aid chaotic withdrawal,” Washington Post, August 15, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/08/15/afghanistan-taliban-kabul-embassy-jalalabad/; Sayed Ziarmal Hashemi et al., “U.S. presses on with evacuations despite fears of more attacks,” Los Angeles Times, August 27, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2021-08-27/evacuations-resume-after-kabul-airport-attack-bombings; Greg Jaffe, “From hubris to humiliation: America’s warrior class contends with the abject failure of its Afghanistan project,” Washington Post, August 14, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/us-hubris-afghanistan-humiliation/2021/08/14/47fb025a-fc67-11eb-9c0e-97e29906a970_story.html; Ellen Knickmeyer, Robert Burns, and Matthew Lee, “Biden to address chaotic Kabul evacuation amid criticism,” Associated Press, August 20, 2021, https://apnews.com/article/business-health-coronavirus-pandemic-kabul-taliban-d036db0b190acba68087f3d46ffae146; Kevin Liptak, “Biden decides to keep August 31 deadline to withdraw from Afghanistan as evacuations accelerate,” CNN, August 24, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/08/24/politics/joe-biden-g7-afghanistan/index.html; Ezzatullah Mehrdad, Dan Lamothe, and Kareem Fahim, “Chaos persists at Kabul airport, imperiling Afghanistan evacuation effort,” Washington Post, August 19, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/airport-kabul-taliban-state-department-karzai/2021/08/19/5de79f4a-0105-11ec-87e0-7e07bd9ce270_story.html; Rachel Pannett, Ellen Francis, and Adam Taylor, “Taliban doubles down on Aug. 31 deadline, says Afghans no longer allowed to reach Kabul airport,” Washington Post, August 24, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/08/24/afghanistan-kabul-taliban-live-updates/; Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, “U.S. Airlift From Kabul Gains Speed As Afghans Defy Taliban In Several Cities,” August 19, 2021, https://gandhara.rferl.org/a/taliban-blocking-airport-independence-day/31418029.html; Ahmad Seir, Rahim Faiez, and Jon Gambrell, “Taliban seize Jalalabad, cut off Afghan capital from east,” Washington Post, August 15, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/taliban-seize-jalalabad-cut-off-afghan-capital-from-east/2021/08/14/131e00aa-fd75-11eb-911c-524bc8b68f17_story.html; Ahmad Seir et al., “Taliban fighters enter Kabul, await a ‘peaceful transfer’ of power,” Los Angeles Times, August 15, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2021-08-15/taliban-fighters-enter-kabul-then-pledge-not-to-take-afghan-capital-by-force; Barbara Starr et al., “ISIS terror threat forces US military to establish alternate routes to Kabul airport,” CNN, August 21, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/08/21/politics/kabul-airport-terror-warning/index.html; Times of Israel, “Afghan government set to hand over power to Taliban in stunning collapse,” August 15, 2021, https://www.timesofisrael.com/afghan-government-expected-to-hand-over-power-to-taliban-in-stunning-collapse/; Yaroslav Trofimov, “Afghanistan’s Taliban Seize Jalalabad as Panic Grips Kabul,” Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/afghanistans-taliban-seize-jalalabad-as-panic-grips-kabul-11629005282; Yaroslav Trofimov, Nancy A. Youssef, and Sune Engel Rasmussen, “Kabul Airport Attack Kills 13 U.S. Service Members, at Least 90 Afghans,” Wall Street Journal, August 26, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/afghanistan-kabul-airport-explosion-11629976397↩
- Susannah George, “Afghanistan’s military collapse: Illicit deals and mass desertions,” Washington Post, August 15, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/08/15/afghanistan-military-collapse-taliban/; Danielle Pletka et al., “What Went Wrong in Afghanistan?” Wall Street Journal, August 21, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/what-went-wrong-in-afghanistan-11629472600; Heather Cox Richardson, “August 16, 2021,” Letters from an American, August 16, 2021, https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/august-16-2021; Alia Shoaib, “Why the US-trained Afghan National Army have been defeated with ease by the Taliban,” Business Insider, August 14, 2021, https://www.businessinsider.com/afghan-forces-havent-been-able-to-hold-off-the-taliban-2021-8; Fareed Zakaria, “We lost the war in Afghanistan long ago,” Washington Post, August 16, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/08/16/we-lost-war-afghanistan-long-ago/↩
- British Broadcasting Corporation, “Afghanistan: Taliban ‘tortured and massacred’ men from Hazara minority,” August 20, 2021, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-58277463; Larisa Brown et al., “Planes leaving half empty after Taliban set up ring of steel,” Times, August 19, 2021, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/planes-leaving-half-empty-after-taliban-set-up-ring-of-steel-6rdvp2wdb; Naomi Conrad, Masood Saifullah, and Birgitta Schülke-Gill, “In Kabul, terrified Afghans wait for the call to safety,” Deutschewelle, August 18, 2021, https://www.dw.com/en/in-kabul-terrified-afghans-wait-for-the-call-to-safety/a-58894365; Ben Doherty, Warren Murray, and agencies, “Afghanistan: reports emerge of Taliban beating Afghans seeking to flee Kabul,” Guardian, August 18, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/aug/18/afghanistan-reports-emerge-of-taliban-beating-afghans-seeking-to-flee-kabul;
Charlie Faulkner and Ben Farmer, “Desperate Afghans plunge to deaths from departing US planes as Kabul airport overrun,” Telegraph, August 16, 2021, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2021/08/16/kabul-airport-chaos-thousands-overrun-tarmac-desperate-bid-escape/; Susannah George, “The treacherous journey into Kabul airport to escape Taliban-controlled Afghanistan,” Washington Post, August 20, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/08/20/kabul-airport-journalists-evacuation/; Christina Goldbaum and Najim Rahim, “A Week Into Taliban Rule, One City’s Glimpse of What the Future May Hold,” New York Times, August 15, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/15/world/asia/afghanistan-taliban-kunduz.html; Guardian, “‘There are no women in the streets’ – the day life changed in Kabul,” August 16, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/aug/16/there-are-no-women-kabul-street-stayed-home-fear-beaten-taliban-fighters; Stephanie Nebehay and Emma Farge, “UN rights boss says she has credible reports of Taliban executions,” Reuters, August 24, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/un-rights-boss-says-has-credible-reports-taliban-executions-2021-08-24/; Monique Rivalland and Georgina Roberts, “How Afghanistan’s ambitious young women feel now,” Times, August 19, 2021, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/how-afghanistans-ambitious-young-women-feel-now-k7t6swgtk; Joyce Sohyun Lee et al., “With the Taliban now in control, here’s what Afghans are seeing in Kabul,” Washington Post, August 18, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/interactive/2021/videos-afghanistan-kabul-taliban-arrival/; Yaroslav Trofimov, Dion Nissenbaum, and Margherita Stancati, “‘Saigon on Steroids’: The Desperate Rush to Flee Afghanistan,” Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/saigon-on-steroids-the-desperate-rush-to-flee-afghanistan-11629071999; Phillip Walter Wellman, “US Woman Under Taliban’s Watch Won’t Leave Kabul Without Her Staff and Hundreds of Rescue Animals,” Military.com, August 25, 2021, https://www.military.com/daily-news/2021/08/25/us-woman-under-talibans-watch-wont-leave-kabul-without-her-staff-and-hundreds-of-rescue-animals.html; Graeme Wood, “What Comes Next in Afghanistan,” Atlantic, August 27, 2021, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/08/kabul-airport-bombing-afghanistan/619906/; Tom Yun, “What is ISIS-K? A look at the Afghan-based terrorist group that threatens both Taliban and U.S. forces,” CTV News, August 26, 2021, https://www.ctvnews.ca/world/what-is-isis-k-a-look-at-the-afghan-based-terrorist-group-that-threatens-both-taliban-and-u-s-forces-1.5562085↩
- Steve Hendrix et al., “Taliban sends hundreds of fighters to final province beyond its control,” Washington Post, August 23, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/taliban-resistance-panjshir-massoud/2021/08/23/8741bf9c-0411-11ec-b3c4-c462b1edcfc8_story.html; Ahmad Massoud, “The mujahideen resistance to the Taliban begins now. But we need help,” Washington Post, August 18, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/08/18/mujahideen-resistance-taliban-ahmad-massoud/; Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, “U.S. Airlift From Kabul Gains Speed As Afghans Defy Taliban In Several Cities,” August 19, 2021, https://gandhara.rferl.org/a/taliban-blocking-airport-independence-day/31418029.html↩