Monday, November 29

The ghost of Vietnam fuels the debate in the US on the withdrawal from Afghanistan | International


A group of Taliban in front of the offices of the provincial government in Herat (Afghanistan), this Friday.
A group of Taliban in front of the offices of the provincial government in Herat (Afghanistan), this Friday.STRINGER / EFE

The rapid Taliban advance is accelerating plans for the evacuation of US military and civilians from Afghanistan, while highlighting the human cost and political risk of holding up through thick and thin the decision to leave the Central Asian country through an abrupt disengagement, such as that of Vietnam, after an unwinnable war. The imminence of a probable fall of Kabul is too reminiscent of the hasty flight after Saigon, and the indelible mark of that conflict fuels the debate in the US In the words of the Republican leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, “the exit strategy it is pushing the US full speed into a sequel even worse than the humiliating fall of Saigon in 1975 ”after the North’s victory in the war. McConnell urged President Joe Biden to provide more aid to the Afghan forces, which have already lost a dozen provincial capitals to the Taliban offensive, as well as bombardments to slow their advance.

Despite the tacit bipartisan consensus on the advisability of abandoning the Afghan hornet’s nest, the apparent imperturbability of the White House in the face of the foreseeable collapse of the Kabul government is garnering sharp criticism, such as that of former President Donald Trump. “With me the situation in Afghanistan would be more successful,” said the Republican in a statement Thursday. From his agreement with the Taliban in February 2020, in the aftermath of his mandate – and which for many emboldened the radicals after years of defeats – derives the total withdrawal of US troops on August 31 announced in July by Biden. Trump took advantage of the Afghan drama to revive his claims of electoral fraud: “If the 2020 presidential elections had not been rigged and he was now president, the world would see that our withdrawal from Afghanistan would have been made with conditions.”

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Biden, meanwhile, is continuously signaling that he is not going to rectify. “I do not regret my decision. We have lost thousands of troops, thousands of Americans killed or wounded [en la guerra]. Afghan leaders must unite, they must fight for their nation themselves, ”he said Tuesday. His insistence on leaving Afghanistan to the Afghans has earned him criticism even across the Atlantic. Warning of a possible resurgence of Al Qaeda, the group responsible for the 9/11 attacks, the British Defense Minister, Ben Wallace, expressed the concern of his Government. “The agreement [de Trump con los talibanes] it’s rotten, it was a mistake. Probably Al Qaeda will resurface and of course I’m worried, I don’t think this is the right moment or decision “to withdraw, Wallace said on Friday, quoted by Reuters.

Biden himself has reiterated that in the face of Afghanistan his administration had its hands tied because of the agreement signed by the previous one with the Taliban. But even with a tight margin for maneuver, stresses analyst Frederick Kagan in a rostrum published this Thursday in the newspaper The New York Times, things could have been done if not better, yes in another way. “Biden decided not to. The way in which he announced the reduction and the withdrawal of US troops – with a pressing schedule and without adequate coordination with the Afghan government – has led us to the present situation ”. Added to this is the coincidence of the withdrawal with the height of the fighting: according to US strategists, the Afghan war follows a well-defined temporal pattern, with the Taliban retreating into Pakistan during the winter and a generalized offensive from spring to summer. until the harvest of the poppy, whose derivative, opium, constitutes the great economic support of the fundamentalists. That the disconnection takes place on August 31 abounds in inappropriateness, according to the analyst.

The ridiculous warnings from the US, the EU or, this Friday, NATO, that they will not recognize a Taliban government, seem to have been of no use. After twenty years of war and more than a trillion dollars of investment – lost fund – in the country, not to mention the almost 2,400 soldiers killed and the more than 20,000 wounded, Biden continues to cast anchor while the scene of a possible The Taliban’s triumphal entry into Kabul coinciding with the twentieth anniversary of 9/11 – the trigger for this second Vietnam – is shaking the world more and more.

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