What should the Biden administration be doing regarding Afghanistan?
The title of this article is somewhat oxymoronic in nature. The real title should read: "What will the Biden Administration do regarding Afghanistan?" as opposed to what should it do. As for what we should do, the usual panoply of options comes to focus. It would include a combination of threats; sanctions; international isolation; and, finally, using military forces to evacuate door by door each and every city that has either an American citizen or an Afghan who supported the U.S., along with his family.
However, the rank and file of the Democrat party have virtually no support for any re-engagement in Afghanistan. Also, the Biden administration's standing in the international community is at an all-time low. Therefore, it appears that all the aforementioned options are impractical, if not impossible.
An unknown number of U.S. citizens (possibly as many as 40,000) and an equally unknown number of Afghan employees who worked for American forces are in peril. Moreover, they are scattered throughout the country in cities such as Kandahar and Jalalabad. It would be quite challenging, if not impossible, to locate and extricate them all without the Taliban's cooperation. Indeed, it is the Taliban who are threatening the Biden administration with "dire consequences" if America isn't completely out of Afghanistan by August 31. So, we must ask, what is the most likely action the administration will take?
There are two courses of action America might take. The first can be described as "abandonment and denial." This would see the U.S. abandoning the Americans and Afghan allies to their fate by stating that this is the unfortunate price we pay in order to free ourselves from a never-ending war, and then denying any responsibility for this disaster by blaming the Trump administration and faulty intelligence.
The second course of action can best be described as "appeasement and bribery (ransom)." There is historical precedence for the second approach. Shortly after the Obama administration's successful conclusion of the Iran nuclear deal, the administration secretly negotiated a second agreement with Tehran regarding a small number of American hostages that Iran held. Accordingly, Obama's team secretly flew hundreds of millions of additional dollars to Iran in return for a grand total of four American hostages who should have been released before any negotiation began.
As Joe Biden was Obama's vice president, he would have been aware of this. What makes the Iran deal relevant to Afghanistan is that a large number of Biden appointees and re-treads from the Obama administration were almost certainly involved in that previous deal. Unfortunately, the number of potential hostages being held in Afghanistan is thousands of times larger, and they also should have come first before announcing a pull-out.
There is one last point that must be made. Many people have compared the fiasco in Afghanistan to the debacle in Vietnam. There is one major difference. When North Vietnamese tanks rolled into Saigon, the war ended. There was no danger that the North Vietnamese would attack the U.S. mainland.
With the Taliban takeover of Kabul, the situation is quite different. In addition to an unknown number of American citizens and Afghan allies likely to be left behind, it is probable that both al-Qaeda and ISIS will use Afghanistan as a base to reconstitute their depleted forces and launch new attacks against the West, requiring some form of U.S. retaliation. After all is said and done, the sordid story of America's involvement in Afghanistan is not yet over. It may very well just be the beginning.
Caren Besner is a retired teacher who has written articles published by American Thinker, Sun-Sentinel, Dr Swier, News With Views, The Front Page, The Published Reporter, Washington Examiner, The Algemeiner, Jewish Journal, Independent Sentinel, Jerusalem Post, Arutz Sheva, San Diego Jewish World, The Times of Israel, The Moderate Voice, IsraPost, The Jewish Voice, Joo Tube, The Florida Veteran, and others.
Image: "Everything is going to be fine" cartoon by Nobarack08.
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