The Last King of Afghanistan, Part 2

By MIKE EVANS

The Soviet Union fought a 10-year war in Afghanistan that ended with its troops withdrawing in 1989. Since then, Moscow has made a comeback as an influential power broker in international talks on Afghanistan. It has worked continuously to cultivate ties with the Taliban, hosting their representatives for a series of bilateral and multilateral meetings.

“We have maintained contacts with the Taliban for the last seven years, discussing many issues,” Kremlin envoy on Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov said earlier this week.

“We saw them as a force that will play a leading role in Afghanistan in the future even if it doesn’t take all power. All those factors, along with guarantees given to us by the Taliban’s top leaders, give us reason for a calm view of the latest developments, although we remain vigilant.”

 The Taliban massacre of 22 U.S.-trained Afghan Special Forces soldiers was the shattering blow to the Afghan armed forces. They realized that without U.S. assistance, intelligence, and air support, that they would never be able to stop the Taliban.

Nobody doubted that the Taliban would take over Afghanistan. The only question that the intelligence leaders were debating was whether it would take six months or four months, The generals knew that without air support and logistical help, there would be no possibility for the Afghan army to survive. 

War is as much about morale, momentum, and perception, as it is about weapons and numbers. It was just 2,500 troops and the Afghans were doing almost all the fighting and dying on the ground. It became obvious to everyone what was going down. Everyone knew that the Taliban would take over the country. The issue that the Afghan Armed Forces was faced with was how many of them would die fighting a battle they could not win. Along with all of their family members who might be targeted by the Taliban, like the last king in Afghanistan, the Afghan forces found no rationale to be the last Afghan to die in Afghanistan when the U.S. had given up. 

The collapse of Afghanistan and the return of the Taliban in such a period of time is as grave as the humiliation of Saigon and the hostages in Iran and will embolden terrorists to strike America. Not to speak of the damage it is going to do to our foreign policy, as allies have to recalibrate if they will also be left behind by standing up for America, Biden’s cut and run policy of the U.S. will supercharge global jihadist movements including al Qaeda and ISIS, guaranteeing another 9/11 style catastrophe. The jihadists are going to be celebrating, dancing in the streets, saying we defeated the Soviet Union and we also defeated the Great Satan America. Now we only have the little Satan Israel to defeat.

There was no major military intelligence failure. Everyone understood what was coming down. It was no surprise that Russia had been clandestine, arming the Taliban since 2018 as payback for the U.S. support and overthrowing them as part of the Taliban and overthrow them.

Iran is an Islamic state. Now Afghanistan will become another Islamic state with a vast number of Shia in both.

The Taliban is responsible for 9/11. So what are we doing on the anniversary of September 11? We are giving the Taliban a nation for its Islamic base and billions of dollars in U.S. military equipment.

The United States spent an estimated $83 billion training and equipping Afghan security forces over the last two decades. U.S.-supplied aircraft in their inventory include a reported:

-35 Black Hawk helicopters and three A-29s.

-A-29 Super Tucano attack aircraft.

 -U.S. Humvees and mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles.

-75,898 vehicles

-599,690 weapons

-162,643 pieces of communications equipment

-16,191 pieces of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance equipment

In addition, the United States also gave Afghan forces 7,035 machine guns, 4,702 Humvees, 20,040 hand grenades, 2,520 bombs, and 1,394 grenade launchers. This is all in the hands of the Taliban. 

The Taliban is a predominantly Pashtun, Islamic fundamentalist group that ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001, when a U.S.-led invasion toppled the regime for providing refuge to al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. The Taliban regrouped across the border in Pakistan and has led an insurgency against the U.S.-backed government in Kabul for nearly two decades years.

The United States invaded Afghanistan after it refused to hand over bin Laden, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. Many U.S. security experts remain concerned that under the Taliban’s rule, Afghanistan would remain a safe haven for terrorists who could launch attacks against the United States and its allies. 

The Taliban primarily earns revenue through criminal activities, including opium poppy cultivation, drug trafficking, extortion of local businesses, and kidnapping, according to the U.N. monitoring group. Estimates of its annual income range from $300 million to $1.6 billion.

The American commander, General Austin Miller, quietly left the country on July 12, evacuating its military operations at Bagram Airbase without a formal handover to the Afghan army, which was a dry run. It sent a signal to the Taliban and to the Afghan army that they were on their own.

In July 2021, the group controlled an estimated 54 percent of the Afghan district. Now radical Islam has hundreds of billions of dollars worth of U.S arms and equipment. The fundamentalist Sunni world, which most of the Gulf countries are a part of, will all support the Taliban because of its commitment to fundamentalism, Sharia law, and Islamic extremist ideology.

A Taliban terrorist named Abdul Ghani Baradar will head the next government. He was closely associated with Osama bin Laden and co-founded the Taliban along with the terrorist Mullah Mohammad Omar, the one-eyed cleric who was the group’s first supreme leader and who killed scores of Americans. 

This is a dark day for the United States. It is a catastrophe. It’s symptomatic of a nation whose soft underbelly is exposed because it has rejected moral clarity. 

Why couldn’t the U.S. have worked with its global allies to maintain a high level of security over all its key bases and move U.S. personnel out of Afghanistan and allies all year long to safety to avoid the perception that the world is seeing as weakness? At the very least, the U.S. could have decided to join with its allies to defend Kabul by providing air support and moving the Afghan army to the borders of Kabul. The Afghans could have done the fighting.

We had plenty of drones, planes, and helicopters to keep the Taliban from taking Kabul. That was a no-brainer. At the very least we should have done it for 12 months until all of those who helped us could have left with dignity and not in a panic with the U.S. being perceived as a paper tiger.

The U.S. knew a year ago that the Taliban’s military strategy was to take control of major border crossings. Main highways crippled Kabul’s ability to send reinforcements and supplies and army units would be cut off from the rest of the country. Instead of preventing the problem from happening, the U.S. legitimized the Taliban and delegitimized the Afghan government.  

America has always been perceived as a king. How is it possible that the last king of Afghanistan, the U.S., would make it so easy for the very enemy we were fighting to take over the nation?

King Joe Biden’s failure to acknowledge his disastrous withdrawal provides no comfort to Americans or our Afghan partners whose lives hang in the balance but instead emboldens jihadis to refocus on the West. 

“The likelihood there’s going to be the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country [of Afghanistan] is highly unlikely,” President Biden confidently proclaimed in July. “There’s going to be no circumstance where you see people being lifted off the roof of an embassy.”

Khalil Haqqani, who has a $5 million U.S. bounty on him, is in charge of security in Kabul as Biden claims the terrorist group is “gone” from Afghanistan.

The shadowy group – one of the most powerful networks behind the Taliban’s rise to power – was formed by Jalaluddin Haqqani, who gained prominence in the 1980s as a hero of the anti-Soviet jihad. At the time, he was a valuable CIA asset as the U.S. and its allies, such as Pakistan, funneled arms and money to the mujahideen.

Following the Soviet withdrawal, Jalaluddin Haqqani forged close ties with foreign jihadists – including Osama bin Laden. He later allied with the Taliban, who took over Afghanistan in 1996, serving as a minister for the Islamist regime until it was overthrown by U.S.-led forces in 2001.

The Haqqanis have a reputation for frequently using suicide bombers — including drivers in cars and trucks packed with huge amounts of explosives — and have carried out deadly assaults on major targets.

According to the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center, Afghan forces intercepted a Haqqani truck in eastern Afghanistan in October 2013 that contained nearly 28 tons of explosives.

The Biden administration’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan is a foreign-policy humiliation unlike anything our country has endured since the Iran hostage crisis.

It has embarrassed America on the world stage, caused allies to doubt our dependability, and emboldened enemies to test our resolve. Worst of all, it has dishonored the memory of the heroic Americans who helped bring terrorists to justice after 9/11, and all who served in Afghanistan over the past 20 years.

Mike Evans is a #1 New York Times bestselling author with 109 published books, including The New Iran. He is the founder of Friends of Zion Museum in Jerusalem, of which the late Shimon Peres, Israel’s ninth president, was the chair. He also serves on the Trump Evangelical Faith Initiative.