Life under the ‘moderate’ Taliban: Fighters tar a ‘car thief’ and tie him to the back of truck


The ‘moderate’ Taliban has already started tarring alleged thieves and strapping them to trucks to be paraded through Kabul, fired at crowds trying to escape to the US-controlled airport and is going house-to-house to round up looters.

The so-called ‘Angels of Salvation’ are dragging suspects from their homes at gunpoint and lining them against walls after chaos broke out in Kabul following the Taliban takeover.

Footage shows an alleged car thief with his face covered in black tar and strapped up to the back of a truck, with his hands tied behind his back as people gather around to gawp.

A traffic cop stands nearby and waves through traffic, seemingly unperturbed or unable to prevent the rough justice as commotion builds around the accused man. 

Other footage shows Taliban fighters outside Kabul airport wielding AK-47s and rocket launchers, marching towards the terrified crowds and firing warning shots into the air. 

Former civil servants and those who worked for foreign countries are prisoners in their own homes and living in fear as the Taliban go from house-to-house to interrogate people on who they are and what they do.  

An ex-interpreter reported seeing his house being raided via an app on his phone as he remains holed up in a safehouse. 

The jihadists have been dubbed ‘Taliban 2.0’ for their media charm offensive in trying to persuade the world that they have moderated compared to the Taliban of 20 years ago. 

But their barbaric atrocities tell a different story:

  • Suspected political enemies are being dragged from their houses and are to be hung, according to sources 
  • Ex-interpreter saw his house being raided via an app on his phone as he remains holed up in a safehouse
  • In Kabul’s Pol-e-Charki prison, the militants murdered former ISIS chief Ziaul Haq, fuelling fears of civil war 
  • A mother-of-four was beaten to death in front of her daughter before a grenade was hurled into their home  
  • 21-year-old former teacher says she is a ‘prisoner in her own home’ as the Taliban fighters raid nearby houses
  • Kabul’s first female mayor Zarifa Ghafari said: ‘I’m just sitting her waiting for them to come, there is no help’ 
  • A bloodied child, who appeared to have been killed, was seen being carried outside the airport on Tuesday
  • Taliban are causing stampedes outside the airport as they fire guns into the air and beat would-be refugees 
  • Women reached their arms through railings outside airport crying to the US troops: ‘The Taliban are coming’
  • Teenage boys cowering with their younger siblings and mothers are separated by fighters and beaten 
  • Two killed and at least 10 injured when Taliban opened fire on protest over removal of the national flag 

A traffic cop stands nearby and waves through traffic, seemingly unperturbed by the commotion around the accused man.

Footage shows an alleged car thief with his face covered in black tar and strapped up to the back of a truck, with his hands tied behind his back as people gather around to gawp.

An alleged looter is placed up against a wall after he was dragged out of his house by the Islamist 'Angels of Salvation'

A militant trains a gun on an alleged thief

An alleged looter is placed up against a wall with fighter training their guns on his back after he was dragged out of his house by the Islamist ‘Angels of Salvation’

A fighter canes a boy who cowers with women and young children

A fighter canes a boy who cowers with women and young children

A statue of political leader Abdul Ali Mazari, who was murdered by the Taliban in 1995, was destroyed

The statue before it was vandalised

A statue of political leader Abdul Ali Mazari, who was murdered by the Taliban in 1995, was destroyed

The Taliban turned on the crowd at Kabul airport on Tuesday, driving the hundreds back from the airport perimeter as they pushed to flee the country

A child covered in blood is carried away with his father after the Taliban used whips on the crowd trying to get in to Kabul airport on Tuesday

A child covered in blood is carried away with his father after the Taliban used whips on the crowd trying to get in to Kabul airport on Tuesday

An Afghan woman is seen lying on the ground after the Taliban used whips and sharp objects to drive people from the airport

A Taliban fighter whacks a boy across the back of the thighs as families cower under a bush

A Taliban fighter whacks a boy across the back of the thighs as families cower under a bush

A man cries as he watches fellow Afghans get wounded after Taliban fighters use gunfire, whips, sticks and sharp objects to maintain crowd control over thousands of Afghans who continue to wait outside Kabul airport for a way out

A man cries as he watches fellow Afghans get wounded after Taliban fighters use gunfire, whips, sticks and sharp objects to maintain crowd control over thousands of Afghans who continue to wait outside Kabul airport for a way out

A 21-year-old woman who was working as a teacher in Kandahar before it fell described how she had fled to Kabul earlier this year but now lived in fear that the Taliban will soon come knocking on her door. 

She told Radio 4: ‘When the Taliban attacked and captured Kandahar we were unable to live anymore, because of the shooting, the bombing and the killing of innocent civilians.  

‘Now I’m taking refuge here in Kabul because of Taliban. But when it comes to Taliban we never expected this, that Kabul would be captured and the city has fallen.

‘But now we are trapped we cannot do anything, everywhere Taliban are seen.

‘I feel personally at risk from the Taliban because I was working for an educational organisation and the Taliban do not accept this, now I do not feel safe at all.

‘I am here taking refuge in Kabul, I do not leave the house, I do not even go for something I really need. I’m afraid, I’m like a prisoner in my own home.

‘They are going house-to-house, they are asking what people have been doing, they want to know who lives where. Yesterday, I saw their car passing through our street, so we collected all the documents and ID we had in the house and hid it.’ 

The young woman said that she was desperate to receive asylum status in Britain. 

Another woman named only as Najia was at home with her three young sons and daughter in a small northern village when the Taliban knocked at their door.

Her 25-year-old daughter Manizha described how they had come to the house three days before demanding that her mother cook for their men.

She told CNN: ‘My mother told them, “I am poor, how can I cook for you?” [The Taliban] started beating her. My mother collapsed, and they hit her with their guns – AK47s.’

Manizha shouted at the fighters to relent and in response they hurled a grenade into a neighbouring room, fleeing as the house became engulfed in flames.

The mother-of-four, Najia, later died of the beating. 

Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman, claimed on Tuesday ‘there is a huge difference between us and the Taliban of 20 years ago’ – when female Afghans were beaten in the street or publicly executed, denied work, healthcare and an education, and barred from leaving home without a male chaperone.   

The Taliban has also said women will have to wear hijabs but not burkas.

But despite his claims video emerged today showing terrified women at the gates to Kabul airport pleading with US troops to let them through, wailing: ‘The Taliban are coming.’ 

The women were seen reaching their hands through iron railings towards the soldiers while screaming in the video which was shared widely on Afghan social media accounts this morning. 

Taliban gunmen have now surrounded the airport – the only route out of Afghanistan for thousands of refugees stranded in the capital and nearby provinces – and are checking the documents of those trying to reach it. 

Islamist fighters were funnelling people towards a gate on the airport’s civilian south side, demanding documents before occasionally allowing someone to pass. Each time the gate opened, dozens tried to rush inside – with gunshots fired to keep them back.

Women were filmed pleading with US troops that the 'Taliban are coming' in footage that appeared to have been taken at Kabul airport this morning as thousands of desperate Afghans try to flee Islamist rule

Women were filmed pleading with US troops that the ‘Taliban are coming’ in footage that appeared to have been taken at Kabul airport this morning as thousands of desperate Afghans try to flee Islamist rule

Crowds pictured outside Kabul airport on Wednesday morning, which is now the only viable route out of the country for thousands of refugees trapped in the capital

Crowds pictured outside Kabul airport on Wednesday morning, which is now the only viable route out of the country for thousands of refugees trapped in the capital

Taliban gunmen patrol through crowds of desperate Afghans at Kabul airport today, as people try to board planes out of the country fearing for their safety under Islamist rule

Taliban gunmen patrol through crowds of desperate Afghans at Kabul airport today, as people try to board planes out of the country fearing for their safety under Islamist rule

While thousands of people have arrived at Kabul airport trying to get on flights out of the country (pictured), some western visa holders on the ground have said they are in hiding nearby for fear Taliban gunmen will target them

While thousands of people have arrived at Kabul airport trying to get on flights out of the country (pictured), some western visa holders on the ground have said they are in hiding nearby for fear Taliban gunmen will target them

Taliban fighters patrol in Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood in the city of Kabul

Taliban fighters patrol in Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood in the city of Kabul

Meanwhile more footage revealed crowds hard up against concrete perimeter walls on the airport’s military north side, with shots being fired over the heads of men, women and children to keep them back.

Afghan translators and other visa holders trying to reach the airport have told MailOnline that they are actually in hiding near the airport, afraid to break cover and try to reach the runway in case the Islamists haul them away.

Others who have braved the gates told of how they were crushed, trampled and molested amid the crowds – without making it on to a flight.

In a sign of how dire the situation has become, White House spokesman Jen Psaki was forced to admit Tuesday that there is no guarantee that all US citizens and visa holders will be able to leave the country before troops pull out on August 31.

‘Our focus right now is on the task at hand, and that is day by day getting as many American citizens, SIV applicants, as many of the vulnerable population who are eligible to be evacuated to the airport and out on planes,’ she told a press conference.

Flights that were supposed to be carrying thousands of people out of the country each day have so-far been taking off with just a few hundred aboard, with the UK evacuating some 370 people between Sunday and Monday.

General Sir Nick Carter, head of the UK armed forces, told BBC Radio 4 that Britain ‘hopes’ to get 1,000 people out today with seven evacuation flights going into the country – though was forced to admit that is only possible due to ‘collaboration’ with the Taliban.

He also flatly denied reports that people are struggling to get to the airport, saying: ‘Subject to the situation remaining calm, which the Taliban are working hard to achieve alongside us, the system will work.’ 

One man was photographed on Tuesday with tears streaming down his cheeks, his face contorted in anguish as he saw his fellow Afghans being whipped outside the airport.

The Taliban then opened fire to drive the masses back from the site. 

Reports suggested the militants were going door-to-door, rounding up those who had worked with the Afghan armed forces or government. Exclusive video obtained by Fox News showed a convoy of Taliban fighters roaring down a street, then opening fire in Kabul looking for ex-government workers. 

The Taliban on Tuesday used whips and sharp objects to beat back women and children desperate to enter Kabul airport, forcing crowds to run away in terror.

One man was photographed with tears streaming down his cheeks, his face contorted in anguish as he saw his fellow Afghans being whipped.  

The Taliban then opened fire to drive the masses back from the site. 

Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman, claimed on Tuesday ‘there is a huge difference between us and the Taliban of 20 years ago’ – when female Afghans were beaten in the street or publicly executed, denied work, healthcare and an education, and barred from leaving home without a male chaperone.  

The Taliban has also said women will have to wear hijabs but not burkas.

Yet despite their claims to have moderated their position, there was no sign of that on Tuesday.

Reports suggested the militants were going door-to-door, rounding up those who had worked with the Afghan armed forces or government. Exclusive video obtained by Fox News showed a convoy of Taliban fighters roaring down a street, then opening fire in Kabul looking for ex-government workers. 

Afghans run from the airport after the Taliban began using whips and sharp objects to repeal the crowd, before opening fire on those hoping to flee

Afghans run from the airport after the Taliban began using whips and sharp objects to repeal the crowd, before opening fire on those hoping to flee

Taliban fighters patrol the streets of Kabul on Tuesday and man checkpoints set up across the city

Taliban fighters patrol the streets of Kabul on Tuesday and man checkpoints set up across the city

Pictured: Zabihullah Mujahid, chief spokesman for the Taliban, speaks during a press conference in Kabul on Tuesday, August 17, 2021. For years, Mujahid had been a shadowy figure issuing statements on behalf of the militants

Pictured: Zabihullah Mujahid, chief spokesman for the Taliban, speaks during a press conference in Kabul on Tuesday, August 17, 2021. For years, Mujahid had been a shadowy figure issuing statements on behalf of the militants

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid answers press members questions as he holds a press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid answers press members questions as he holds a press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan

A group of women began protesting on Tuesday, demanding the extremist group does not 'eliminate' women from society but were not approached by Taliban fighters until the afternoon

A group of women began protesting on Tuesday, demanding the extremist group does not ‘eliminate’ women from society but were not approached by Taliban fighters until the afternoon

Taliban fighters stand guard before their spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid arrives for his first news conference in Kabul on Tuesday

Taliban fighters stand guard before their spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid arrives for his first news conference in Kabul on Tuesday

FALL OF KABUL: A TIMELINE OF THE TALIBAN’S FAST ADVANCE AFTER 40 YEARS OF CONFLICT

Feb. 29, 2020 Trump negotiates deal with the Taliban setting U.S. withdrawal date for May 1, 2021 

Nov. 17, 2020 Pentagon announces it will reduce troop levels to 2500 in Afghanistan

Jan. 15, 2020 Inspector general reveals ‘hubris and mendacity’ of U.S. efforts in Afghanistan 

Feb 3. 2021 Afghan Study Group report warns against withdrawing  ‘irresponsibly’

March Military command makes last-ditch effort to talk Biden out of withdrawal 

April 14 Biden announces withdrawal will be completed by Sept. 11 

May 4 – Taliban fighters launch a major offensive on Afghan forces in southern Helmand province. They also attack in at least six other provinces

May 11 – The Taliban capture Nerkh district just outside the capital Kabul as violence intensifies across the country

June 7 – Senior government officials say more than 150 Afghan soldiers are killed in 24 hours as fighting worsens. They add that fighting is raging in 26 of the country’s 34 provinces

June 22 – Taliban fighters launch a series of attacks in the north of the country, far from their traditional strongholds in the south. The UN envoy for Afghanistan says they have taken more than 50 of 370 districts

July 2 – The U.S. evacuates Bagram Airfield in the middle of the night 

July 5 – The Taliban say they could present a written peace proposal to the Afghan government as soon as August

July 21 – Taliban insurgents control about a half of the country’s districts, according to the senior U.S. general, underlining the scale and speed of their advance

July 25 – The United States vows to continue to support Afghan troops “in the coming weeks” with intensified airstrikes to help them counter Taliban attacks

July 26 – The United Nations says nearly 2,400 Afghan civilians were killed or wounded in May and June in escalating violence, the highest number for those months since records started in 2009 

Aug. 6 – Zaranj in the south of the country becomes the first provincial capital to fall to the Taliban in years. Many more are to follow in the ensuing days, including the prized city of Kunduz in the north 

Aug. 13 – Pentagon insists Kabul is not under imminent threat 

Aug. 14 – The Taliban take the major northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif and, with little resistance, Pul-e-Alam, capital of Logar province just 70 km (40 miles) south of Kabul. The United States sends more troops to help evacuate its civilians from Kabul as Afghan President Ashraf Ghani says he is consulting with local and international partners on next steps

Aug. 15 – The Taliban take the key eastern city of Jalalabad without a fight, effectively surrounding Kabul

Taliban insurgents enter Kabul, an interior ministry official says, as the United States evacuate diplomats from its embassy by helicopter

 

During the press conference on Tuesday, Mujahid did not detail what restrictions would be imposed on women, although he did say it would be a government with ‘strong Islamic values’. 

Mujahid claimed: ‘We are committed to the rights of women under the system of Sharia. They are going to be working shoulder to shoulder with us. 

‘We would like to assure the international community that there will be no discrimination.’

The Taliban denied it was enforcing sex slavery, and claims that such actions are against Islam. 

During the 1990s, the regime established religious police for the suppression of ‘vice’, and courts handed out extreme punishments including stoning to death women accused of adultery. 

During their press conference in the capital city, the Taliban insisted girls will receive an education and women will be allowed to study at university – both of which were forbidden under Taliban rule in Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001 before the US-led invasion. 

The group also said they want women to be part of the new government after female Afghans staged a protest outside a local Taliban HQ in the Khair Khana district, a suburb of north-west Kabul, while chanting ‘honor and lives are safe’ and ‘join voices with us’. 

However, women and girls remain the most at risk under the new regime, with gangs in conquered areas allegedly hunting children as young as 12 and unmarried or widowed women they regard as spoils of war – ‘qhanimat’ – being forced into marriage or sex slavery.    

The spokesman suggested that the Taliban intended to put the last 20 years behind them, claiming that the group is ‘not going to revenge anybody, we do not have grudges against anybody’. 

‘We want to make sure Afghanistan is not the battlefield of conflict anymore. We want to grant amnesty to those who have fought against us,’ he said.

Yet footage from within Kabul showed the Taliban driving around in their pickup trucks and opening fire. 

Some reports said they were going door-to-door to hunt down opponents. 

And it also emerged on Tuesday that the Taliban is already offering ‘safe haven’ to Al Qaeda, according to a Pentagon watchdog report – published just a day after President Biden said the war in Afghanistan had succeeded in ensuring the country could not be used to launch attacks against the U.S.  

The revelation will bring fresh questions about why Biden was intent on pushing through the U.S. withdrawal so fast. 

And with U.S. troops and diplomats heading for the exits, who is left behind to provide intelligence on the deadly terrorist group? 

The new report by the Lead Inspector General for Operation Freedom’s Sentinel – the name of the U.S. mission in Afghanistan – said terrorist networks including ISIS had made the most of the Department of Defense’s drawdown.   

‘As the DoD restructured its counterterrorism mission to locations outside of Afghanistan, ISIS—Khorasan exploited the political instability and rise in violence during the quarter by attacking minority sectarian targets and infrastructure to spread fear and highlight the Afghan government’s inability to provide adequate security,’ it said.

‘Additionally, the Taliban continued to maintain its relationship with al Qaeda, providing safe haven for the terrorist group in Afghanistan.’

Osama bin Laden plotted the 9/11 terror attacks from Afghan soil, triggering the 2001 invasion by U.S. troops.

He was finally hunted down and killed by Navy Seals in neighboring Pakistan 10 years later. 

Disrupting his network in Afghanistan has been a key part of the U.S. and NATO mission. 

But with the Taliban retaking power, analysts are assessing what it means for Al Qaeda and the threat it poses to the West.

Footage obtained by Fox News showed Taliban fighters driving through the streets of Kabul and opening fire. It was unclear whether they were firing in the air or aiming for people. Reports have claimed they are going door-to-door hunting down opponents

The Taliban fighters, flying their white flag, were filmed surreptitiously from a balcony in Kabul on Tuesday

The Taliban fighters, flying their white flag, were filmed surreptitiously from a balcony in Kabul on Tuesday

A man claiming to be a member of Al Qaeda is pictured in Yemen in 2009. The terrorist group is likely to be granted safe haven by the Taliban, according to a Pentagon watchdog report published on Tuesday

A man claiming to be a member of Al Qaeda is pictured in Yemen in 2009. The terrorist group is likely to be granted safe haven by the Taliban, according to a Pentagon watchdog report published on Tuesday

President Biden has repeatedly declared victory in the U.S. mission to ensure Al Qaeda could not use Afghan soil to launch attacks on the U.S. But a new report says the Taliban is offering safe haven to the terrorist group

President Biden has repeatedly declared victory in the U.S. mission to ensure Al Qaeda could not use Afghan soil to launch attacks on the U.S. But a new report says the Taliban is offering safe haven to the terrorist group

Taliban fighters pose on October 14, 2001, near Jalalabad in Afghanistan. Twenty years after their regime was topped by U.S. and allied forces they are back in power

Taliban fighters pose on October 14, 2001, near Jalalabad in Afghanistan. Twenty years after their regime was topped by U.S. and allied forces they are back in power

Taliban fighters stand guard in a vehicle along the roadside in Kabul on August 16, 2021, after a stunningly swift end to Afghanistan's 20-year war, as thousands of people mobbed the city's airport trying to flee the group's feared hardline brand of Islamist rule

Taliban fighters stand guard in a vehicle along the roadside in Kabul on August 16, 2021, after a stunningly swift end to Afghanistan’s 20-year war, as thousands of people mobbed the city’s airport trying to flee the group’s feared hardline brand of Islamist rule

A peace deal signed by the Trump administration in Doha, the capital of Qatar, last year required the Taliban to stop giving safe haven terrorist groups. 

Yet, the Taliban’s upper echelons are filled with figures who have fought alongside Al Qaeda or hosted their operatives. For example, Sirajuddin Haqqani, one of the Taliban’s deputy leaders and the son of a close friend to Bin Laden, is known to be a key conduit to the terror group. 

As the Taliban advanced rapidly across Afghanistan, undoing billions of dollars of work that was meant to build a new democracy, officials have repeatedly seized on the eradication of Al Qaeda in the country as justification for leaving.  

‘We went to Afghanistan almost 20 years ago with clear goals: get those who attacked us on September 11th, 2001, and make sure Al Qaeda could not use Afghanistan as a base from which to attack us again,’ said Biden on Monday, after being forced to leave Camp David to address the crisis.

‘We did that. We severely degraded Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.’ 

Biden is seen talking to his national security team from Camp David at the weekend. Officials insist they will hold the Taliban to the terms of a peace deal signed in Doha last year, when they promised not to host terrorist groups

Biden is seen talking to his national security team from Camp David at the weekend. Officials insist they will hold the Taliban to the terms of a peace deal signed in Doha last year, when they promised not to host terrorist groups

The top ranks of the Taliban include the likes of Sirajuddin Haqqani, who leads the Haqqani network, and who is believed to have close ties with Al Qaeda. This rare photograph is taken from an FBI most wanted poster

The top ranks of the Taliban include the likes of Sirajuddin Haqqani, who leads the Haqqani network, and who is believed to have close ties with Al Qaeda. This rare photograph is taken from an FBI most wanted poster

Other officials say they intent on holding the Taliban to the Doha deal.

‘We have a proven ability to fight terrorism effectively without having a large military footprint on the ground – and we will hold the Taliban accountable to not allowing Al Qaeda to have a safe haven in Afghanistan,’ National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told ABC’s Good Morning America.

Terrorism experts scoff at the idea that the Taliban is no longer operating with Al Qaeda or that the terrorist group has been defeated. 

‘The recent narrative of a degraded or defeated or decimated  group – pick your D word, they’ve used – is delusional,’ said Bill Roggio, editor of the Long War Journal which tracks Al Qaeda activity in the region.

‘They’ve been there, operating alongside the Taliban the whole time. This narrative has persisted because the only way to pursue a U.S. exit out of Afghanistan was to downgrade Al Qaeda’s presence.’  

He said Pentagon assessments had long been works of fiction, putting the Al Qaeda presence at about 50-100 fighters – despite reporting that 40-80 operatives were being killed each year.

‘The intelligence services are clueless or lying,’ he said. 

Roggio added that the chaotic departure of diplomats, contractors and troops – not to mention Afghans who had worked for the U.S. – would severely erode Washington’s ability to gather intelligence on Al Qaeda. 

The Pentagon declined to comment on the report and instead directed inquiries to the White House and to the Pentagon Office of the Inspector General. 

Taliban fighters ride a newly acquired police pickup truck outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul after their whirlwind advance across the country

Taliban fighters ride a newly acquired police pickup truck outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul after their whirlwind advance across the country

Hundreds of people gather outside the international airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021, as they try to flee the Taliban takeover

Hundreds of people gather outside the international airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021, as they try to flee the Taliban takeover

The White House did not immediately respond and a spokesman for the Pentagon Office of the Inspector General said it had nothing to add to the report. 

A recent United Nations report said Al Qaeda’s leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was ‘living but ailing in Afghanistan.’

‘Al Qaeda is present in at least 15 Afghan provinces, primarily in the eastern, southern and south-eastern regions,’ it said. ‘Its weekly Thabat newsletter reports on its operations inside Afghanistan.’

And an offshoot, Al Qaeda in the Indian subcontinent operates under Taliban protection from Kandahar, Helmand and Nimruz Provinces.  

In the aftermath of the Taliban takeover, Nathan Sales, former US ambassador-at-large, said Al Qaeda was one of the big winners.

‘The Biden administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan is the best news Al Qaeda has had in decades,’ he wrote in a briefing paper for the Atlantic Council.

‘With the Taliban back in charge of the country, it is virtually certain that al-Qaeda will reestablish a safe haven in Afghanistan and use it to plot attacks on the United States.’

The Biden administration blame game begins: Chaos as the White House, Pentagon and State Department all look to blame each other for the debacle in Afghanistan

U.S. officials are engaged in cross-agency recriminations as they grapple with failures of intelligence, execution, and imagination that preceded the sudden collapse of Kabul and the chaotic evacuation underway. 

Biden, in his speech to the nation on Monday, pointed to the May 1, 2021 U.S. withdrawal deadline that former President Donald Trump‘s administration negotiated with the Taliban – as well as the failure of U.S. trained Afghan forces to fight.   

Afghanistan political leaders gave up and fled the country. The Afghan military collapsed, sometimes without trying to fight,’ Biden said. ‘If anything, the developments of the past week reinforced that ending U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan now was the right decision.’

Biden administration officials are pointing fingers at various agencies who failed to properly plan for or anticipate the sudden Taliban takeover of Kabul

Biden administration officials are pointing fingers at various agencies who failed to properly plan for or anticipate the sudden Taliban takeover of Kabul

He stood by the determination to pull out as the ‘right decision.’ 

Diplomats have said they were relying on intelligence assessments that the collapse of Kabul was less than imminent – although the Intelligence Community briefed lawmakers in July about the ‘accelerating’ pace of Taliban gains. 

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said at a Pentagon press conference late last month, even amid Taliban gains across provinces: ‘And there is a range of possible outcomes in Afghanistan. … A negative outcome – a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan – is not a foregone conclusion.’ 

That estimation of the Afghan government’s strength also influenced the White House position, as President Biden publicly announced a total withdrawal of U.S. forces by Sept. 11th, then moved up the date by weeks. 

A White House official singled out Milley’s public assessment, calling it ‘utter bunk,’ CNN reported. 

‘We have noted the troubling trend lines in Afghanistan for some time, with the Taliban at its strongest, militarily, since 2001. Strategically, a rapid Taliban takeover was always a possibility,’ said a senior intelligence official Sunday. 

Defense officials have said they prepared for worst-case scenarios, and have expressed frustration that State Department officials didn’t speed evacuation actions. 

Pentagon spokesman Adm. John Kirby, a former State Department spokesman under President Obama, said the administration did plan for Taliban gains.

He spoke to CNN Tuesday about the chaotic departure flights from Hamid Karzai airport that reportedly left eight people dead.

‘Could we have predicted every single scenario and every single breach around the perimeter of the airport with only a couple of thousand troops on the ground?’ Kirby said. ‘Plans are terrific and we take them seriously, but they are not and never have been perfectly predictive.’ 

 Former Donald Trump national security advisor John Bolton told the network Tuesday that both Trump and Biden made the strategic mistake of withdrawing from the 20-year war.   

This image distributed Courtesy of the US Air Force shows the inside of Reach 871, a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III flown from Kabul to Qatar on August 15, 2021

This image distributed Courtesy of the US Air Force shows the inside of Reach 871, a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III flown from Kabul to Qatar on August 15, 2021

Pentagon assessments of the durability of Afghan national forces are also coming under scrutiny. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the military had planned for contingencies involving a Taliban takeover

Pentagon assessments of the durability of Afghan national forces are also coming under scrutiny. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the military had planned for contingencies involving a Taliban takeover

‘It’s been a catastrophe and I’m afraid it’s going to get worse. I think Biden does bear primary responsibility for that although you see now fingers being pointed saying Trump didn’t leave us with any plans. We’ll have to see how that shakes out,’ he said.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken testified in June that he didn’t expect an ‘immediate deterioration in the situation’ as the U.S. undertook its drawdown. 

‘Whatever happens in Afghanistan, if there is a significant deterioration in security — that could well happen, we have discussed this before — I don’t think it’s going to be something that happens from a Friday to a Monday,’ he said – although what ultimately unfolded was a sudden Taliban takeover in a matter of days.

A foreign policy ally said Biden’s advisors would never have let him take off for Camp David last Friday, as the president did, had they anticipated the sudden collapse, the Washington Post reported.  





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