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Home/Rod Dreher/America’s Afghanistan Humiliation

America’s Afghanistan Humiliation

Saigon 2021 (ABC News stillshot)

From the Ministry of Information:

U.S. airstrikes are helping to blunt Taliban advances across Afghanistan, although Pentagon officials warn American air power alone will not be enough to push back the insurgent offensive.

For weeks, the United States has been launching “over-the-horizon” strikes from its Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar and from its carrier strike group in the Persian Gulf, hitting Taliban targets with a heavy mix of AC-130 gunships and MQ-9 Reaper drones.

But there have been questions regarding the effectiveness of the strikes, with Taliban officials claiming the group has captured seven provincial capitals over the past five days, and tweeting Tuesday that an eighth capital, Faizabad, in Afghanistan’s Badakhshan province, was about to fall.

“We have every confidence that those strikes are hitting what we’re aiming at and are having an effect on the Taliban,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters Tuesday, saying additional strikes have been carried out “in just the last several days.”

I don’t believe the Pentagon. I think they are lying. The Afghan government has lost nine provinces in a week. The Pentagon has been lying to us for years about our prospects in Afghanistan. Why should we trust it now?

Oh look, we are literally begging the Taliban not to hurt us now:

American negotiators are trying to extract assurances from the Taliban that they will not attack the U.S. Embassy in Kabul if the extremist group overruns the capital in a direct challenge to the country’s government, two American officials said.

The effort, led by Zalmay Khalilzad, the chief American envoy in talks with the Taliban, seeks to stave off an evacuation of the embassy as the fighters rapidly seize cities across Afghanistan. The Taliban’s advance has put embassies in Kabul on high alert for a surge of violence in coming months, or even weeks, and forced consulates and other diplomatic missions elsewhere in the country to shut down.

American diplomats now are trying to determine how soon they may need to evacuate the U.S. Embassy should the Taliban prove to be more bent on destruction than a détente.

A reader who is a veteran of our Mideast wars writes:

It isn’t the Chinese that are kicking our asses. It is the Taliban that have completely shredded a government we spent trillion dollars to build up, and then lied about the progress and prowess of. And there will be no consequences for anyone, which is why the underlying issues won’t be fixed — and then the Chinese will kick our ass.
Nope, no consequences for anybody. It will shock us all how quickly this is forgotten, as our ruling class gets us ready to start another war we can’t win. Sure do wish we had listened to Pat Buchanan and the “unpatriotic conservatives” (in David Frum’s wording) who tried to keep us out of that region. Well, at least this frees up our military brass to fight the only war they seems to be able to win now: the culture war against its own non-woke soldiers.

UPDATE: A reader who specializes in this field writes:

The most important criticism of Biden was his not abiding by the original withdrawal, and then making a number of errors, notably 1) not dropping the Embassy to minimal manning, 2) the borderline religious faith in a diplomatic solution and a revisionist take on the Taliban, 3) closing Bagram even though we would need it to evacuate our people, and 4) airstrikes even while having a massive diplomatic presence in the country that could and would be targeted in retaliation.

At this point, the key issue any proponent of escalation has to explain is why you trust the Pentagon, which lied for decades to the public, to do better this time without thorough accountability and culture change. We also have a complete failure to envision and account for this offensive. Also our pleading with the Taliban not to hurt us is humiliating and ridiculous and everyone knows it.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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