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The chaos in Afghanistan was predictable

The chaos in Afghanistan was predictable

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There’s no denying the chaos in Afghanistan is frightening, horrifying and disconcerting.

It also was entirely predictable. Surely very few of us had faith that the American-trained Afghan army would be able to control their country once we pulled out.

Whether we had left under Barack Obama or Donald Trump or, now, Joe Biden the results most likely would have been the same.

President Trump tried to avoid the current confusion by negotiating with the Taliban. But how does America negotiate with terrorists? Of course they aren’t about to keep their word. But at least he tried.

Joe Biden also recognized that it is past time for Americans to pull out of Afghanistan. From 2001 — in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon — through the end of 2014 — during Operation Enduring Freedom — 2,218 American servicemembers were killed in Afghanistan.

In the years since, during our training mission Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, we lost another 94 servicemembers. During both missions, more than 20,000 Americans were wounded — some of them grievously.

During the past 20 years, American taxpayers have spent some $825 billion to fund the missions in Afghanistan.

For some time, most of us have been tired of the cost in money and American lives, so, in principle at least, we welcomed the end of that seemingly endless war in Afghanistan.

What many of us didn’t cheer was the way the departure has been carried out. There can be no excuse for the incompetent way the pull-out has been handled.

President Trump had negotiated the withdrawal of all our troops by May of this year. President Biden extended that deadline, saying he wanted troops gone by the 20th anniversary of 9/11 in September.

Either way, the presence of America’s armed forces was going to come to an end — at last.

So why did our government wait so long to close down our embassy and urge Americans in Afghanistan to start coming home? Supposedly, those trustworthy members of the Afghan government asked the Biden administration to hold off, saying an early withdrawal of non-military personnel would send a message of instability.


And why weren’t efforts to remove Afghans who translated, guided and otherwise helped our troops in Afghanistan — as well as their families — started much sooner?

It’s not like The Eagle and other newspapers around the country haven’t for months run stories and opinion columns pointing out the plight of our allies in Afghanistan.

Now, thousands of Americans and even more Afghan allies are trying to get out of that country. Our government says it isn’t sure how many, but President Biden ordered in thousands of troops to help them make their way to Kabul International Airport to take American military transports out of the country.

The Taliban said it would allow safe passage of those wishing to leave Afghanistan — as well as promising to to reinstate harsh rules about dress and education on Afghan women — but we all have seen how much the Taliban can be trusted.

While we applaud the withdrawal of the last American forces in Afghanistan, we can’t help but condemn the way it is being carried out.

There can be no excuses.

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