President Biden will forever have to live with the fact that he botched up the Afghan withdrawal of U.S. troops. As more and more comes out about that event, we learn that Biden didn’t listen to anyone. He chose to move forward because he wanted to be the one to end the war.
Biden was looking for fame more than anything else. He wanted something impressive to be tied to his presidency. Unfortunately, with no military career to speak of and choosing to be completely ignorant to the intelligence on the ground, the event failed – and that’s what is tied to his presidency forever. Ignorance.
Now, it shows that even more intelligence was available to guide the decisions that were being made.
In January 2021, John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), submitted a report to the Department of Defense to show that the Afghan air force did not have the ability to survive U.S. troops withdrawing from the country.
The report also shows that the U.S. failed to provide sufficient training to the Afghan support staff. It meant that the air force wouldn’t be able to maintain its aircraft without the Americans on the ground.
U.S. air support was a critical component to keep the Taliban insurgents at bay for the 20 years that the war waged on in Afghanistan. The moment we pulled out, it allowed the Taliban to achieve a victory – and we knew that would happen.
What’s interesting is that SIGAR reports are classified. A declassified version of the report generally goes to the Pentagon within two months. Yet, it took more than a year for the Department of Defense to release the declassified version of this particular report. It seems that they knew the truth but wanted to keep it hidden for as long as possible. Releasing it sooner would have meant that everyone would have pointed the finger at the Biden administration for pulling out of Afghanistan – yet that happened anyway.
SIGAR has been tracking and documenting spending and progress in the Afghan nation since 2008. Reports have been able to document examples of failed leadership, corruption, as well as weaknesses found in the Afghan army. Additionally, there are recommendations inside every report to show where improvements can be made.
Over $145 billion has been spent by the U.S. government since the 2001 invasion that ousted the Taliban. This money has been spent to help reconstruct Afghanistan. Another nearly $1 trillion was spent on military engagement.
And now, it seems as though all of that money was single-handedly flushed down the toilet by Biden when he demanded in April that the remaining 2500-3500 troops would be leaving the country. It led to Afghanistan falling – and now, the Taliban has reclaimed rule of the country and was even able to get their hands on millions of dollars worth of U.S. military equipment.
The SIGAR report wasn’t the only thing that Biden should have used to realize that pulling the troops was not a good idea. Afghan officials warned that they could not stand on their own. Even DOD officials told Biden that it was not a good idea to pull out all at once.
But, Biden claimed he knew better. And he is the one that has to deal with the poor mark of the withdrawal on his presidency.
As Sopko’s report read, the Afghan air force progressed in some ways, but they were also faced with a struggle of “human capital limitations, leadership challenges, aircraft misuse, and a dependence on contractor logistic support.”
It’s as if Biden didn’t even the report or, worse yet, simply didn’t care.