Wednesday, August 4

Biden accelerates departure from Afghanistan despite risk of civil war


Washington Correspondent

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The President of the United States, Joe Biden, has accelerated the military withdrawal from Afghanistan, admitting this Thursday in a speech that “Mission accomplished cannot be sung”. The White House considers the withdrawal almost complete, since it has accelerated the return flights of the soldiers to the US Last week the main base in the Central Asian country was evacuated, that of Bagram, north of Kabul, which for years It was the logistics center for the North American Armed Forces and its allies in the area. «We went to Afghanistan to respond to the terrorists responsible for 9/11, to do justice with Osama bin Laden, to make sure that Afghanistan would not be used as a base for attacks against the US, “said Biden, who believes those goals have been met. “We did not go to Afghanistan to build institutions. It is up to the Afghans to shape the future of their country, “he added.

The president denied that he believes the Taliban will inevitably seize power. Asked if he trusts these Islamists, he said no. “I trust the Afghan army, which is well trained,” he said. Then he recalled that when he was a senator and vice president opposed having American soldiers permanently in Afghanistan, a country he has visited on numerous occasions.

A total of 2,452 US soldiers have died in the longest conflict in US history, the total cost of that war in lives is 157,000, according to a study by Brown University. Of these, 43,000 are civilians. The insurgent guerrillas, which already dominated the country before the 2001 invasion, are gaining ground by forced marches, and have caused the exodus of civilians and uniformed men to neighboring countries, given the growing fear of their reprisals. A recent US intelligence report, revealed by the US press last month, assures that Afghanistan’s democratic government will not last six months in power after the American exit this year. Biden said yesterday that the US armed forces have trained 300,000 soldiers from Afghanistan.

National unity

Last month, Biden received at the White House the legitimate Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, and his eternal political rival, Abdullah Abdullah, who today holds the position of High Commissioner for National Reconciliation. The objective is national unity, but absent from this dialogue supervised by this White House is the Taliban insurgency, which is gaining ground at dizzying speed. Both Ghani and Abdullah visited the Capitol before meeting Biden and met with influential MPs and senators. “The president’s decision is strategic, and we respect it, to begin a new episode of our friendship,” said the Afghan president at the end of that visit.

The fulfillment of a promise from Biden is pending: evacuate interpreters and other U.S. military collaborators whose life is now in danger from threats from Islamists. The US Government has agreed to evacuate thousands of them to a third country, where they will await a North American residence visa. After September 11, they will not have the protection of the foreign armed forces. There are currently 18,000 Afghans in a special visa application program, although the final number of evacuees may be higher.

As Biden said in his speech at the White House on Thursday, “if they want they can wait with all the security outside Afghanistan while their visas are processed.” “They have a home in the US, if they want it, and we are going to support them like you supported us,” added Biden. The president revealed that evacuation flights begin this month.

Already in May 2014, the then president, Barack Obama, announced that “American combat missions in Afghanistan will end before the end of the year.” The goal of the war, announced by George W. Bush on October 7, 2001It was to overthrow the Islamic regime of the Taliban guerrilla, which had supported Al Qaida during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. As Bush said then, “given the nature and scope of our enemies, we will win this conflict through patient accumulation of success, as we meet a series of challenges with determination, will, and purpose.”

To retire, Donald Trump aceptó negociar with the same Islamic guerrillas that Bush promised to overthrow, while insurgent groups escalated the assassinations of leaders of civilian groups and pro-democracy activists. In 2019, the former president even invited Taliban emissaries to Camp David, the presidential weekend residence in Maryland, on the eve of an anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The visit was canceled at the last minute due to an attack in which a US soldier was killed. Still, the negotiations took place elsewhere, and the peace agreement took place just over a year ago. Trump’s plans were to remove the soldiers on May 2. Upon reaching the White House, Biden extended it until September 11.

An end announced

When Biden came to power there were 3,500 American soldiers left in that country. (The official figures are 2,500, but a month ago the Pentagon admitted that it had manipulated them for years.) The doubts are reasonable because the end of the war has been announced many times. The one who did it the most was Obama: in 2011 he ended combat operations, before the announcement of 2014, and when he left in 2017, he left almost 9,000 soldiers in the Central Asian country. Upon arrival, Trump increased the number to 14,000.

Trump later straightened the course, and distancing himself from Republican orthodoxy, began to criticize what he called “expensive, endless and useless wars.” The reason, apart from the many deaths, was the cost to the state coffers: the 20 years of war have cost the United States. more than 800,000 million dollars, 670,000 million euros. Biden, who has not distanced himself as much from Trump as he promised in the campaign, insists on the same. As he said in his speech: “I will not send another generation of Americans to war in Afghanistan without a reasonable expectation of achieving a different result.”

The White House made an effort this Thursday in justify Biden’s decision. “After 20 years, and abundant casualties of American soldiers, we can say that what we started 20 years ago has been accomplished, which is to respond to the 9/11 attacks, do justice, capture Osama bin Laden and deprive Al Qaida the ability to have an operations center so that it does not attack us in our homeland, “White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said yesterday at her daily prena conference. “The president has made a reasoned decision, with all the information at his fingertips, and he knows that there is no military end to this war, and that the status quo cannot be maintained,” he added. Psaki said that this war will not have an end point in which “mission accomplished” is proclaimed, and reiterated that he believes it is a war that “cannot be won militarily.”

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