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The Unmitigated Disaster in Kabul: How the U.S. Government Failed Two Countries

I’m getting a sore, stiff neck. It comes from hearing the latest incompetently executed operation in Afghanistan and shaking my head.

Not that it has actually happened much, because the White House, the Pentagon, and the State Department aren’t doing anything. Yet what has transpired over the last 60 days in Afghanistan, as perpetrated by these governmental Three Stooges, has had its collective toll on my neck.

I stopped being astounded a long time ago ― probably in early July. Now I’m just angry, ashamed, and depressed. This cannot be the United States of America doing this ― or, more accurately, not doing this — can it? Unfortunately, it is.

It got worse for all U.S. and Afghan citizens hoping to get out of harm’s way midday Friday.

Just before noon EDT Friday, Biden’s cabal announced it would no longer authorize direct flights from Afghanistan to the U.S. Without explanation for the decision, of course. The result is that U.S. and Afghan citizens cannot be guaranteed safe passage to the U.S., despite holding U.S. passports or green cards. Additionally, Qatar issued a diplomatic communique late afternoon Arabia Standard Time (AST) stating that flights by U.S. aircraft are no longer welcome there if the point of departure is Kabul.

The debacle that is Afghanistan continues to flabbergast most Americans, who cannot understand how the world’s greatest superpower can be so incompetent at what should be a straightforward logistical operation. It began July 6, when U.S. military forces abandoned what was probably the most secure airbase in the world.

U.S. Air Force command ordered the electricity to be shut off and all military units literally sneaked out of Bagram Airfield in the middle of the night. Moreover, they did not bother to tell the new Afghan military commander they were leaving. He discovered the departure two hours after it was complete.

Once word got out, looters entered the compound occupied by joint U.S. forces for 20 years and took virtually everything that was not nailed down. They stole laptops, stereos and basketballs before being evicted, according to Afghan military officials. There was $20 billion worth of aircraft, electronics gear and artillery left for anyone willing to put in the effort to haul it away.

Unlike Vietnam, where a peace deal of sorts was in place before U.S. forces abandoned the country to the communists, in Afghanistan the U.S. has simply quit and gone home. The damage done to the people of the Mideast nation, especially those who allied with the U.S., is disturbing.

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In early July, there was little indication in the media or from the government that Afghanistan would fall quickly. Biden has used that excuse this week, stating that “this did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated.” He then went on to call out President Donald Trump and the Afghan military leadership. Anyone but his own administration. His failure is that of broken promises to Afghanistan and its peoples.

Thursday, though, we learned that Biden lied. Or his staff is incompetent. Take your pick. The State Department did in fact issue a security memo in mid-July that someone in the White House should have seen, warning that the country would fall quickly.

The classified cable indicates Biden at the very least should have known that the Taliban’s military advance was imminent and that the Afghanistan National Security and Defense Forces (ANDSF) would be unable to protect the country without U.S. military command and control, satellite surveillance, and other support mechanisms that had made ANDSF successful throughout the war. We suspect it is not ignorance of the warning but a willful decision by Biden’s secretive anonymous puppet masters to ignore it.

The communique warned of rapid territorial gains by the Taliban and the subsequent collapse of Afghan security forces. Sent via the State Department’s secure “dissent channel” — exactly what it sounds like — it offered recommendations on ways to mitigate the crisis and speed up an evacuation, according to two anonymous sources The Wall Street Journal interviewed for their story. None of those measures were enacted.

Dated July 13, the cable also called for the State Department to use tougher language in describing the atrocities being committed by the Taliban, one of the people said. None of that happened, and Biden actually claimed in an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos Thursday that no such communication had come from State or any other government entity. Again, that’s either a lie, or incompetency, and we lean toward the former.

A State Department spokesman declined to comment on the dispatch, but Assistant Media Relations Secretary for State, Ned Price, told WSJ that Secretary of State Antony Blinken reads every dissent and reviews every reply.

“He’s made clear that he welcomes and encourages use of the dissent channel, and is committed to its revitalization,” Price said. “We value constructive internal dissent.”

The existence of the confidential State Department cable adds to an expanding debate involving the White House, Pentagon and intelligence services over what U.S. officials understood about assessments of Afghanistan’s stability.

This new information throws cold water on the excuses Biden has made before TV cameras throughout the week that the situation in Kabul developed too quickly for U.S. personnel to react. It is extremely likely that there is an effort by the White House at damage control that includes lying blatantly to the American people.

This perhaps deliberate lack of response, combined with the abandonment of the USAF base at Bagram, set the table for disaster. Even now, the U.S. is failing miserably at assisting our own citizens and our Afghan allies. Thursday, State officials claimed “The mission is at the airport,” meaning they have no intention of authorizing U.S. military personnel to make armed runs into Kabul to escort Americans and our allies out.

Perhaps we could farm that humanitarian effort out to the British and French, who are tirelessly working 24/7 to go door-to-door in Kabul and its suburbs to find, rescue and escort their citizens and allies out of the city to the airport.

It is shameful that such a suggestion for solving the lack of U.S. response is made even half-seriously.

Well before the early August, had the U.S. continued its presence at the Kandahar Province facility of Bagram, military and State personnel could been flown into Bagram via helicopter and evacuated from there. Being far more secure than Kabul’s primitive two-stone-building “international airport,” the Taliban would have been unable to molest those evacuation efforts.

The U.S. could have had all our military and diplomatic staffs out of the country long before 31 of the 34 Afghan provinces began falling. We could have removed all the estimated 30,000 Afghan citizens who supported the U.S. operations in the country for 20 years, knowing that if we didn’t, they would be killed.

Most disturbing about the fact we did none of that, the Taliban, less than 48 hours after promising “amnesty” for those Afghan citizens, are taking extreme punitive action against them.

Reports out of Kabul and other areas of Afghanistan Friday indicate Taliban fighters are going door-to-door themselves, with a far more sinister purpose. They are hanging ― on the spot, in their own homes ― any and all Afghan citizens who assisted the efforts of the U.S. and NATO in keeping peace in the war-torn nation.

Retired Marine sergeant Ryan Rogers, told America’s Conservative Voice Friday that an Afghan interpreter who served his unit during the bloody Battle of Marjah in Helmand Province 11 years ago is currently trapped in Kabul. Unable to reach the airport, he told Rogers that Taliban fighters are going throughout the city, seeking out and murdering men and women like him who were ANDSF commanders and interpreters for U.S. forces.

“He told me [Wednesday] they hung three ANDSF commanders from their own roofs,” Rogers said in a telephone interview. “He said the Taliban are close to the place that he’s hiding, they’re going house-to-house and that they sent a transmission out saying they had plans for the people that operated with America.”

The fate of those who served the U.S. so faithfully as interpreters and guides throughout the country is in the hands of the Taliban. Their fates should be in the hands of the United States government, which appears too weak and ineffective to be able to solve the problems presented and get our people and their allies out of there.

Despite heavy criticism and calls, even from Democrats, to investigate Biden’s failure in Afghanistan, he remains clueless.

It was only Friday morning that the White House announced Biden was canceling plans to escape to Delaware this weekend while the crisis in Kabul raged on. Biden’s schedule had said throughout the week that he would fly to Wilmington after delivering remarks on Afghanistan Friday.

The White House, however, updated his schedule early Friday to indicate he will remain in Washington, D.C. following his comments on Afghanistan Friday afternoon. This followed pressure from Republicans and questions from media about Biden’s travel plans. His appearance before the cameras was again more like a pep rally than a media brief, filled with lies, misrepresentations, and superlatives having little to do with reality.

And what of the regular Afghanis who did not serve the U.S. but nonetheless want no part of rule by the Taliban?

Protesters rallied against Taliban rule across Afghanistan for a third day Friday after a protest the day before was violently dispersed with gunfire by the Islamist militant group and led to at least three deaths.

Images and videos shared on social media showed a crowd of protesters in Kabul near the presidential palace waving the black, red and green national flag of the toppled Afghan government and tearing down the white flag of the Taliban. In another part of Kabul, a streamer with the flag colors carried by dozens of people made its way through the streets. The protests formed during a celebration of Afghanistan’s independence from British rule in 1919.

And what of those who want out but have no record of U.S. military or State Department service?

Zaki Anwar, an Afghan Under-20 soccer player and one of the best youth soccer players in the world, dreamed of playing in the U.S. or Europe. When it became obvious two weeks ago that the Taliban was going to sweep in and fill the void left when U.S. forces left, he determined to get out of the country.

He went to the Kabul airport, hoping to find a flight, but was frustrated in his efforts. So desperate to escape, Zaki let his emotions rule the day and made his way through the mob around a USAF Boeing C-17 and leaped up on the wheel well of the aircraft, hoping to secure a hand- and foot-hold on the giant plane. No doubt, he believed his athleticism would make it possible to reach his destination.

Shortly after takeoff, Zaki lost his grip. He fell nearly 3,000 feet to his death. His is but one story of those we have left behind. We should be ashamed!

Mike Nichols is a conservative, a patriot, U.S. Army veteran, licensed professional counselor, political enthusiast, sports fan and writer living with his beautiful wife Liz in the Heartland. He has a regular blog at America’s Conservative Voice on Substack and a Facebook presence at Americas Conservative Voice-Facebook.