The disaster unfolding in Afghanistan over the past few weeks has shown in stark terms the incompetence and weakness of the Biden Administration. And now 13 members of the U.S. Military have paid with their lives. Our deepest condolences go out to their families, and our prayers are with those who were injured in the malicious terrorist attack on our troops.
In a matter of days, the Taliban was allowed to take over the entire country. When the 20th anniversary of 9/11 occurs in a matter of weeks, the Taliban’s flag will be flying over the American Embassy in Kabul, and al-Qaeda and ISIS-K will be well on their way to regaining their strength after their numbers dwindled in Afghanistan under the Trump Administration.
This feckless, poorly executed withdrawal is already calling into question American leadership from some of our closest allies, such as Germany and the UK. Billions of dollars’ worth of U.S. military equipment and materiel is now in the hands of the Taliban. The United States will need to reckon with these consequences and more for years to come. Right now, though, much more urgent problems are on the immediate horizon: the issue of getting nearly 15,000 Americans out of Afghanistan safely looms large, and the humanitarian crisis that is developing as the Taliban returns to power is likely to become a genocide against Christians if the Biden Administration does not act.
Our first priority must be to get every American out of Afghanistan safely regardless of any arbitrary deadline set by us or the Taliban. President Biden should commit to staying in Afghanistan until every American citizen is rescued from behind the enemy lines of the Taliban. And that withdrawal should occur on our terms and not the Taliban’s.
The Trump Administration’s Afghanistan strategy utilized a combination of deterrence and negotiated agreements to keep the Taliban in check while we withdrew our forces. This kept Americans who were still there safe while reducing our military footprint in the region. We would never – never – have withdrawn our forces and allowed the Taliban to take over without first getting American citizens out. The safety and security of the American people is the highest priority of any responsible American government. But the Biden Administration has neither secured the safety of the American people, nor kept the Taliban in check by holding them to the promises they made under the agreement we negotiated in February 2020.
Thousands of Americans are still stuck in Afghanistan, not just in Kabul, but across the country without the capability of getting to the airport because the Taliban controls all access to the airport. While we still control a portion of the Kabul airport, Americans must go through territory and checkpoints controlled by the Taliban in order to get there. And the terrorist attack this week virtually guarantees that missions outside the airport will be curtailed and getting to the airport will be nearly impossible. That means the safety of those Americans is right now reliant on the Taliban, not the U.S. government. That is inexcusable.
The Biden Administration must make clear to the Taliban that U.S. troops will not leave Afghanistan until every American citizen is able to leave safely. Unfortunately, Team Biden has completely ceded control of the situation to the Taliban, and so such assertions are now impossible to make without endangering the Americans trying to leave.
The other tragic side effect of this poorly executed withdrawal has been the Taliban’s persecution of Afghan Christians, which is now only just beginning. There are at least as many Christians in Afghanistan today as there are stranded Americans. Given that many of them are Muslim converts – a crime punishable by death under the dictates of Shariah Law which the Taliban has openly embraced – the possibility of there being a genocide against Christians in the wake of this withdrawal is extremely high. Already, the Taliban is compiling lists of known Christians and their communities. They are going door to door searching Afghan homes for Bibles, even searching smartphones for Bible apps. Afghan Christians are being forced to flee the country, and it should be a priority of the United States government to do what it can to get them out of harm’s way. Unfortunately, if the Biden Administration cannot even manage to get Americans out, there is scant hope they can be trusted to protect religious freedom as well.
Vice President Harris recently stated in Singapore that “the United States is a global leader, and we take that role seriously.” But nothing about our withdrawal from Afghanistan shows that this Administration is seriously interested in leading. This is not a situation that any responsible country, let alone the leader of the free world, should ever permit to unfold. Team Biden has left thousands of Americans stranded in Afghanistan at the mercy of radical Islamic extremists. It threw America’s allies under the bus by withdrawing our forces without so much as a phone call to other world leaders, whose people are now stranded there as well.
It has opened the door for the beginnings of a genocide against Christians. It created a safe haven for ISIS and al-Qaeda to reemerge – a fitting and tragic result, given that this Administration is filled with Obama Administration holdovers, whose disastrous policies in Syria and botched withdrawal from Iraq created the conditions for the ISIS caliphate to emerge there. It took the Trump Administration’s leadership to fix that problem then, and it will take similar leadership to handle the consequences of the Biden Administration’s Afghanistan debacle in the future.
Right now, the ACLJ is working to urge both the Biden Administration and world leaders to take decisive action. Our legal team is working behind the scenes to help get endangered children out of Afghanistan. Our team is about to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request of the Biden Administration over its disastrous handling of Afghanistan, including what it knew about how Christians would be treated. And we are quickly working to prepare an oral intervention at the U.N. in the coming days to address the humanitarian nightmare and potential genocide.