The Afghan government’s biggest policy mistake leading up to the US withdrawal was its failure to grasp that the US was planning to leave no matter what, according to a former national security adviser to ex-president Ghani.
“I think not seeing that writing on the wall probably was one of the biggest” mistakes Afghani President Ashraf Ghani could have made as the end of the US occupation approached, former national security adviser Hamdullah Mohib told CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday.
“We should have understood that the United States had made its decision and would withdraw under any circumstances. That probably is one of the reasons we were unable to secure another outcome.”
Mohib, when asked if the Taliban government actually believed that the US would stay in Afghanistan longer, replied, “Yes,” “no.”
He blamed America and its coalition partners, however, for failing to invest more resources and effort in maintaining a stable environment. “democratic Afghanistan.”
It was clear that all our partners (including the US) believed in democracy and an Afghanistan where the United States could preserve the 20-year history of gains.
“I thought those gains meant something,”He concluded.
Kabul fell almost instantaneously to the Taliban once the Biden administration made its hasty exit, with some comparing chaotic evacuation scenes that followed to the US’ tail-between-the-legs rush departure from Saigon after losing the Vietnam War. As with the iconic photos of Afghans holding onto the helicopter that lifted off from the US Embassy roof, so did the last days of Afghanistan occupation.
While the Biden administration’s effort to end the ‘endless war’ in Afghanistan initially had bipartisan support, the chaotic manner in which it was executed – leaving hundreds of Afghan civilians who had collaborated with coalition troops behind – drew criticism from across the aisle. The Taliban, which at the time of the US’ departure controlled more territory than it had at the start of the US invasion, quickly routed the Afghan military. There was a lot of miscommunication between Afghan troops and US soldiers, as the Bagram Air Base commander claimed that even the US military failed to inform him about their withdrawal from the base. This was once the heart of US-led NATO’s mission in Afghanistan.
Joe Biden responded to allegations of incompetence by accusing the Afghan military of refusing stand for battle. The president noted that US troops had been trained and equipped with modern equipment and more than 300,000 Afghan soldiers. President Joe Biden claimed that the US had lost thousands in nation-building and called for Afghans to take their place. Fighting for the nation, not for yourself.