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Opinion US waited too long to withdraw from Afghanistan

13:11  20 september  2021
13:11  20 september  2021 Source:   usatoday.com

'Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan' is based on specific ideology

  'Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan' is based on specific ideology The Taliban have announced a new interim government. Islam is the key pillar of the group's vision, but which interpretation of Islam will guide their governance?A Taliban fighter lays his AK-47 rifle down during Friday prayers at a Mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sept. 10, 2021.

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For Our View, read A well-intentioned miscalculation with disastrous, predictable results.

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There was no good way for the United States to exit the failed war in Afghanistan.

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President Joe Biden inherited a strategically untenable position: a looming deadline for withdrawal, a deal the Taliban had not adhered to and too few U.S. troops on the ground to hold back Taliban advances. The only choices were to escalate, sending in thousands more U.S. troops to fight the Taliban, or complete the withdrawal.

As world marks 9/11, Taliban flag raised over seat of power

  As world marks 9/11, Taliban flag raised over seat of power KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Taliban raised their iconic white flag over the Afghan presidential palace Saturday, a spokesman said, as the U.S. and the world marked the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. The banner, emblazoned with a Quranic verse, was hoisted by Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, the prime minister of the Taliban interim government, in a low-key ceremony, said Ahmadullah Muttaqi, multimedia branch chief of the Taliban’s cultural commission. © Provided by Associated Press A man walks down the stairs at dusk in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021.

The central problem behind the sudden collapse of the Afghan government isn’t that the United States withdrew too soon or too hastily, but that it waited too long. Once the U.S. government announced its intention to withdraw, Afghan government forces simply collapsed. The weakness and corruption in Afghanistan’s government has been apparent for years and the Taliban have been steadily gaining ground. The United States had long attempted to transition the war to a sustainable footing in which Afghan forces could hold their own against the Taliban with reduced U.S. involvement. This effort failed, and its failure had been apparent for years.

Dig deeper with subscriber-only journalism:

  • They led the war in Afghanistan. Now, defense secretaries say the U.S. 'invented reasons' to stay in Afghanistan.
  • Is Kabul 'Biden's Saigon'? The haunting images of a chaotic exit out of Afghanistan are evoking comparisons to the retreat from Vietnam.
  • Exclusive analysis from USA TODAY's Susan Page: This is President Biden's biggest defeat, fair or not.
  • Former President Donald Trump blamed Biden, even before the Taliban marched into Kabul on Sunday. Would the withdrawal have been 'much more successful' under Trump?

The disaster unfolding today is the product of years of mismanagement and strategic neglect in Afghanistan across four presidencies, Democratic and Republican, by both military and civilian leaders alike. Both Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump pledged to end the U.S. war in Afghanistan.

The Latest: Afghan women soccer players enter Pakistan

  The Latest: Afghan women soccer players enter Pakistan ISLAMABAD--- Members of Afghanistan’s women soccer team and their families arrived in Pakistan after fleeing their country in the wake of the Taliban's takeover, local media said Wednesday. It was unclear how many Afghan women players and their family members were allowed to enter in Pakistan. According to Pakistan’s information minister Fawad Chaudhry, the Afghan women soccer players entered in Pakistan though the northwestern Torkham border crossing holding valid travel documents."We welcome Afghanistan women football team,” Chaudhry tweeted, providing no further details.

Only Biden had the courage to do so. The situation unfolding in Afghanistan is heartbreaking, but the alternative would have been worse: continuing to throw away American lives in an unwinnable war. Delaying the withdrawal would have only postponed the inevitable. Another five years or another 20 years of American engagement in Afghanistan would not have changed the outcome.

Were U.S. losses in vain?: 'Forever war' in Afghanistan resulted in fewer terror attacks

Taliban victory?: Despite collapse in Kabul, withdrawal was the right course in Afghanistan

The United States must now focus on safely evacuating U.S. diplomats as well as Afghan partners and their families who have assisted the United States. U.S. military operations will transition to an over-the-horizon counterterrorism mission using drones launched from outside Afghanistan to prevent terrorist groups from reestablishing safe havens. The United States has built up an impressive counterterrorism apparatus over the last two decades and will not be returning to a pre-9/11 counterterrorism posture. The United States’ failure of two decades of nation-building in Afghanistan should prompt a sober reassessment of the limits of military power.

Joe Biden's Speech on Afghanistan—7 Key Takeaways

  Joe Biden's Speech on Afghanistan—7 Key Takeaways The president said he stood by his decision to remove U.S. troops and that "nation building" was never the goal in Afghanistan.The Taliban seized control of Afghanistan two weeks before the U.S. was scheduled to fully withdraw its troops, who have been there since 2001.

Paul Scharre is vice president and director of studies at the Center for a New American Security. He served as an infantry soldier in the Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment and completed multiple tours to Afghanistan.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: US waited too long to withdraw from Afghanistan

Defense secretaries in their own words: US 'invented reasons' to stay in Afghanistan .
The Taliban blitz exposes the failure of the 20-year Afghanistan war and portends terrorism threats, say former defense secretaries Panetta and Hagel.Afghan security forces, trained and equipped at the cost of $83 billion, wilted before Taliban fighters. With few exceptions, the Taliban rolled through provincial capitals without a fight despite a force of Afghan troops that was supposed to number more than 300,000.  In reality, there were far fewer Afghan forces because of desertions and commanders who reportedly pocketed the pay of ghost soldiers they had kept on rolls. For those who remained and fought, there wasn't enough ammunition and food, to say nothing of pay.

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