Afghanistan’s Story Doesn’t End With the Taliban Conquest

The Taliban may claim victory today but, for Afghanistan, they represent less the end of fighting than one chapter in a bloody history.

The Taliban seized the presidential palace in Kabul, completing their blitzkrieg through Afghanistan. President Ashraf Ghani fled in disgrace. “They tied our hands from behind and sold the country,” Defense Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi wrote. “Curse Ghani and his gang.”  Meanwhile, a humanitarian tragedy is underway. The Taliban are executing those who worked with the United States and reportedly raping their families.

Within Washington, the blame game is underway. President Joe Biden blamed his predecessor, President Donald Trump, and the peace deal with the Taliban that set a deadline for American withdrawal. The Trump-era deal was ill-conceived, but Biden’s excuses are disingenuous for three reasons. First, the Taliban did not abide by the deal and so voided it. Second, its deadline for American withdrawal passed several months ago and, lastly, Biden did not abide by other Trump-era deals about the border wall and Keystone XL pipeline, and so the notion that Trump had tied his hands was nonsense.

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