Speed of Taliban Advance ‘Jolts’ U.S. National Security Apparatus
Aug. 14, 2021 (EIRNS)—CNN reports that the rapid unraveling of the government security apparatus created by the U.S. has “jolted” national security officials in Washington, “leaving the White House rushing to stave off the worst effects of a Taliban takeover.” Despite the speed of the Taliban advance, President Joe Biden has not second-guessed his decision to withdraw, officials told CNN, and reiterated earlier this week that the Afghans have “got to fight for themselves.” But some officials are aware that the swift unraveling of the country could damage the President’s foreign policy legacy (!). Some officials, however, think they have a scapegoat in Donald Trump, under whose presidency the Doha peace deal was negotiated and signed with the Taliban in February of 2020. Those officials will argue that the May 1 deadline included in that agreement hamstrung Biden so that he had no choice but to make the decision that he made. In reality, the disaster in Afghanistan was 20 years in the making.
The CNN account of the process of the decision-making of the last few days goes like this:
• On Wednesday night, Aug. 11, Biden convened a meeting of his senior national security team to address the Taliban’s rapid gains over the last several weeks. Biden was briefed on both the situation on the battlefield and the plan that had been drafted to draw down embassy personnel—and send in U.S. forces to facilitate that effort.
• On Thursday morning, Aug. 12, Jake Sullivan and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin briefed Biden on the full recommendation, which the President then signed off on. Blinken and Austin called Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani and U.S. officials consulted with allies and partners, about the plans throughout the day. The U.S. officials in Doha, Qatar, negotiating with the Taliban will remain there.