25/08/2021

Biden gives in to the Taliban again

2 min
Marines with the 24th Expeditionary Unit (MAULLIDO ) guiding people through the evacuation to Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan

BarcelonaThe president of the United States, Joe Biden, has backed down after the ultimatum launched by the Taliban to keep 31 August as the last day of foreign military presence in the country, and has renounced to postponing the date of the withdrawal to facilitate the evacuation of the civilian population. This is Washington's umpteenth concession to the fundamentalists, who are proving that they have the upper hand on the ground. The American president is ready to comply with the withdrawal agreed by Donald Trump with the Taliban in an agreement which has never been made public (and which he partly hid from Biden), even if this means closing his eyes to the tragedy which is approaching and which has already begun to be denounced by the United Nations.

The fact is that, after 20 years of occupation and the failure to build a strong institutionality in the country, now the West cannot even ensure the lives of the Afghans who collaborated with the foreign forces and confronted the Taliban. With each passing day the sense of humiliation grows greater, and what was supposed to be good news for the Biden administration - the end of a 20-year intervention and the return of the troops home - is turning into a real ordeal that threatens to mark his presidency. The polls are already showing a drop in Biden's popularity, who is appearing as a weak leader (reminiscent of Carter), and the focus of criticism from both the left of his party and the right. The official line of the White House is to believe the Taliban's promises of moderation and to avoid at all costs any armed incident between them and the 6,000 American soldiers guarding the airport.

Without questioning the right of the United States to put an end to the mission, what is not understood is that the Biden administration uncritically accepted Trump's pact with the Taliban, which, let us remember, led to the release of 5,000 Islamist prisoners. Biden can argue that the decision was made by the previous administration, but this does not absolve him of the responsibility to execute the withdrawal while minimising harm to the civilian population, and this has not been the case. After accepting the deadline of 31 August, the Western countries are forced to race against time to get as many people (workers, collaborators, activists, etc.) out of Kabul as possible while the Taliban are blocking the accesses to the airport. Washington has not even been able to get a commitment from the Taliban to let everyone who asks for it out.

We have the case, for example, of 50 Afghan politicians (members of parliament, ministerial posts and even a mayoress) who have asked to be received abroad and who have not yet received any response. As the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, has already said, there are reports of summary executions and other atrocities. If repression and killings are unleashed when the last Western plane leaves Kabul, no one will be able to say that they were not warned.