A recently declassified Pentagon report on the US withdrawal from Afghanistan has renewed attacks against President Joe Biden from across the political spectrum. No doubt, the lack of foresight on the rapid collapse of the US-built Afghan government is inexcusable and created needless chaos.
New reporting on the August 26 suicide bombing at the Kabul airport – an attack that killed more than 150 people – suggests that some victims may have died of gunshot wounds, rather than the explosion. While the Pentagon has acknowledged that American and British troops fired “a small number of warning shots” from opposite sides of the crowd, it maintains that no Afghans were killed by US forces.
Doctors in Kabul tell a different story.
In interviews with ProPublica and Alive in Afghanistan, six physicians from three different hospitals in the Afghan capital dispute the Pentagon’s claim that casualties were inflicted solely by “explosively propelled ball bearings” used in the improvised bomb.
“The doctors remained convinced that they saw wounds from bullets, not only ball bearings,” the outlets reported, adding “All said they had the experience necessary to make the distinction, having responded to numerous terrorist attacks and firefights in their medical careers.”
At Kabul’s Emergency Surgical Centre – an Italian-run facility which primarily treats war victims – doctors say they received 10 people killed by gunfire to the head, neck and chest. Others were also treated for non-fatal gunshot wounds.
“It was really a disaster situation,” said Dr. Mir Abdul Azim, a senior surgeon at the Centre who treated victims of the airport attack. While he noted that no bullets were recovered from his patients or the deceased, he said “he could tell that the wounds were caused by bullets and not ball bearings from the shape and size of the entry and exit wounds, along with other factors such as the tissue damage he saw.”
The suffering inflicted on Afghans is not limited to those killed during the withdrawal or who starve in their homeland under American sanctions. Thousands who were evacuated during the hasty US pull-out now find themselves stranded in the UAE. The conditions for the 10,000 people warehoused for months in the Emirates are so poor that protests have broken out, with many directing their anger toward Washington.
The marooned Afghans – among them women and children – say they are in “prison” and mentally suffering, some claiming they have been deprived of medical care in interviews with the Wall Street Journal.
While many of the attacks against Biden’s withdrawal are little more than cynical ploys to label the Democratic president as ‘weak’ – some even exploiting Afghan suffering to press for more aggressive stances against China and Russia – he cannot avoid responsibility for the broken promises to thousands of refugees still trapped in prison-like conditions.
Will Porter contributed to the article. Reprinted with permission from The Libertarian Institute.
51 thoughts on “The Real Suffering Created By Biden’s Disorganized Afghan Exit”
“No doubt, the lack of foresight on the rapid collapse of the US-built Afghan government is inexcusable and created needless chaos.”
Even if they knew, and they did, there would have been chaos. No matter what, there was going to be chaos. The only way there wouldn’t have been, would have been to have cleared out a very large corridor in which to leave. And that would have required killing even more than died when we did withdraw.
Biden’s team went in on ten-year-old stale hubris.
A peaceful transfer of power was possible, but not with that maladministration.
And Trump wasn’t part of that 10-year-old stale hubris?
Lifting rules of engagement for airstrikes:
“The United States military in 2017 relaxed its rules of engagement for airstrikes in Afghanistan, which resulted in a massive increase in civilian casualties. From the last year of the Obama administration to the last full year of recorded data during the Trump administration, the number of civilians killed by U.S.-led airstrikes in Afghanistan increased by 330 percent.”
Lifting rules of engagement for drone attacks that led to those 10 people being turned into pink mist:
“One of the issues addressed in this review was whether the Biden administration would return to the Obama-era rules requiring “near certainty” that no women or children are present in an area targeted for drone attack or retain the Trump-era standard of only ascertaining to a “reasonable certainty” that no civilian adult men were likely to be killed.”
“According to The New York Times, the tactical commander made the decision to launch the Hellfire missile, another procedural holdover from the Trump-era, which did away with the need for high-level approval of the target before lethal force could be applied.”
Threatening Taliban leader with nuclear strike:
“I spoke to, and sort of the known head, but nobody was sure, but now I’m sure, and I was sure then when I was speaking to him. And I knew as soon as I spoke to him. And even the introduction, I say hello, and he screamed something very tough.”
“And then he asked me one question, and I’d rather not repeat that question, because it’s a very scary question. But he asked me one question, and I gave him the answer yes. And then after it was all done, I said okay, now I’ve said what I’m going to say.”
But sure, the Don would have gotten us out of there without nary a hair being tussled.
Trump understood enough to sign the Doha withdrawal agreement with the Taliban, setting a May withdrawal date. Everyone understood embarrassing Trump would result in a very immature reaction.
Key to Doha was Trump also warned the deal could be called off at any time, dependent on conditions on the ground. This means every phase of a Trump pullout would have been made with stay-on options.
Trump specifically called out Biden for abandoning Bagram Air Base early.
Biden, ignored the agreement and tried to arbitrarily extend the withdrawal date to September, which probably convinced the Taliban to act no-matter-what. Biden also blindly assumed the ANA would cover their retreat with no assurances for their own safety or withdrawal.
The Trump plan did not appear to include the US acting on bad faith then ignoring that the Taliban could do something about it.
“Everyone understood embarrassing Trump would result in a very immature reaction.”
That was my point. Problem being the suicide bomber(s) could have cared less and more than likely would have been counting on Trump’s “very immature reaction”. And regardless of what anyone thinks, team Trump wasn’t going to prevent that suicide bombing from happening other than by clearing out the entire area which would have resulted in even more deaths. Not defending Biden but I just don’t believe the chaos was avoidable regardless of who was in charge.
The point was, Trump’s team had every reason not to fail; Biden’s did not, at least in their minds.
That gate they delayed closing for the British, allowed the suicide bombing. This would not have happened under Trump.
I guess you could assume those things since “team Trump” wasn’t in charge. And your assumption that they would have been more competent at stopping the suicide bombing is just that, an assumption. Nothing Trump did in his presidency should motivate you in thinking these things since he did everything half assed and even threatened the Taliban with nukes at one point.
Abbey Gate was fully prevetnable and well-documented as such. You are free to interpet the facts as you see fit, however.
Trump’s team, would likley have closed the gate and neither trusted nor cared what British remainers had to say.
“Pentagon prepared for ‘mass casualty’ attack at Kabul Airport hours before explosion” – LARA SELIGMAN, Politico, Aug. 30, 2021.
“Britain denies pushing to leave Kabul airport gate open before blast” – Andrew MacAskill and Paul Sandle; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Nick Macfie, Reuters, Aug. 31, 2021.
Those links don’t prove what Trump might have done.
“A Politico report on Monday said American forces decided to keep the Abbey Gate open longer than they wanted to allow Britain to continue evacuating personnel.”
Now why would you assume the American forces under Trump would have done anything differently? I guess I look at how little Trump valued human life to arrive at my assumptions. Those ten people that died in that drone attack, after the suicide bombing, did so because Biden hadn’t rescinded Trump’s lessening of the rules of engagement for our drone warfare.
Those people killed in the drone strike weren’t Americans.
For the last six years the Democrats have been struggling to put Trump out of business by going after his actual businesses.
Odds are, Trump is not a model businessman – on other hand they can’t pin anything on him that sticks.
Trump covers his ass well. Not because he’s the most competent but because he mostly hires competence and demands the best service. Being a friend isn’t good enough; just ask Bannon.
Even if Trump somehow missed Abby Gate – and how a report of an incoming suicide bomber would not be a red flag I don’t know – Pompeo or someone else would have caught it.
Weren’t 13 marines killed? I don’t think we’d be having this conversation otherwise. If the suicide bomber hadn’t been able to enter Abby Gate would he have detonated outside and just killed Afghans? No dead marines, no problem.
I really don’t know what would have happened had Trump won reelection, but I believe SOMEONE would have made the withdrawal as difficult as it was for the old fool Biden.
Yes, they would have tried to make it messy. If not Abby Gate then elsewhere.
Cold as it is, Trump wouldn’t care if just Afghans died.
Neither would most Americans.
Biden wouldn’t have done a damn thing either if it was just more subhumans getting turned into pink mist. There are things he and Trump do see eye to eye.
Trump for all his bluster would have cut any deal needed with the Taliban to avoid embarrassment, then sold that, convincingly or not, as victory.
Which in retrospect, a peaceful Afghan pullout would have been, for everyone.
Highly unlikely, for the simple reason that what people tend to think of as “the Taliban” is actually many different groups.
The “Taliban” with which any deal would be (and in fact was) cut seems to have been a coalition of several factions with at best only a distant cousin relationship to a monolithic state apparatus with a top-down chain of command that could expect its orders to be carried out by all members/units it theoretically controlled.
And that coalition did not, by a damn sight, include all of the anti-US military and paramilitary factions that have been referred to collectively as “Taliban” by the US for the last 20 years.
The US surrendered to the former, not to the latter, and was therefore going to do an “under fire withdrawal” regardless of who was sitting in the White House at the end.
That Taliban unity and chain of command does not fit our perceptions of what it should be, does not preclude that the Taliban cannot act as a unified group on critical issues.
They obviously acted in unison to retake the country without any problems at all. The only real hitch was with their old foes, the Northern Alliance.
The Taliban could themselves as effectively defended an American withdrawal as spur one it along. They ended up dong a bit of both anyway, and almost succeeded but for one suspicious gate bombing that seems more like NATO Deep sabotage, which also killed some Taliban.
“They obviously acted in unison to retake the country without any problems at all.”
Sure, if you ignore the “problem” of having to denounce, apologize for, and rein in various actions by putatively “Taliban” troops who didn’t get the “unified group” memo.
Sorry for the delay.
Well, they did retake the country.
Even conventional armies have discipline problems.
Ahhh…..Afghanistan during the golden Hippie Years of the 1960s, when it was possible to hicke from Europe through Turkey and Iran to Afghanistan to watch beautiful Kabul girls in Mini Skirts walking on the Streets to go to schools or University…..but that was BEFORE the girls were enslaved by Religion and before the Russian and American meddling in that country !!!
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