Although the Biden administration had the chance to secure Kabul, the Afghan capital, by U.S. military forces in the weeks preceding Thursday’s fatal attacks on Kabul, it chose to give the responsibility to the Taliban.
According to a report in the Washington Post, top Taliban officials met with senior U.S. military commanders including the theater’s top general and offered the option of securing the city themselves as the Afghan government fell apart and fled while the country’s military disintegrated ahead of the Taliban fighters’ advances.
The U.S. military commanders declined to accept this option and instead allowed the Taliban to assume security control in the city. This was because President Joe Biden had refused to increase troop strength for such a mission.
The Post reported that security was lacking amid the fleeing of Afghan and government troops, and that there were reports of armed gangs circulating through the streets.
According to the paper, a “hastily arranged, in-person meeting” was held between top U.S. military leaders and Taliban leaders in Doha (Qatar) to discuss the situation.
The meeting was attended by Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, U.S. Central Command commander (CENTCOM), and Abdul Ghani Baradar the chief of Taliban’s political wing.
According to a U.S. official speaking to the WaPo, Baradar said that “we have a problem”.
According to the report, Baradar said to McKenzie that there are two options: Either you [the United States military] assume responsibility for Securing Kabul or you have to let us do it.”
According to the paper, President Joe Biden was “resolute” in his decision not to send more U.S. troops into Afghanistan. As such, responsibility for securing the capital fell to the same force that NATO and American troops have been fighting for the past 20 years.
The Post reported that, even though Afghanistan’s government was in turmoil, Biden was unaffected by his decision and would not change his mind.
“McKenzie, aware of those orders, told Baradar that the U.S. mission was only to evacuate American citizens, Afghan allies and others at risk. The United States, he told Baradar, needed the airport to do that,” stated the Post’s report.
“On the spot, an understanding was reached, according to two other U.S. officials: The United States could have the airport until Aug. 31. But the Taliban would control the city,” the paper noted further.
As the Post’s report became public, many Republicans and other observers attacked Biden over his decision and the disastrous, now fatal, pullout.
“@washingtonpost reports that Taliban offered to stay out of Kabul and let US forces secure the city. We told them we only needed the airport. We could have controlled the airport and Kabul and evacuated everyone but chose not to. The incompetence is stunning,” Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen tweeted.
@washingtonpost reports that Taliban offered to stay out of Kabul and let US forces secure the city. We told them we only needed the airport. We could have controlled the airport and Kabul and evacuated everyone but chose not to. The incompetence is stunning. pic.twitter.com/5MbW6K81n3— Marc Thiessen (@marcthiessen) August 29, 2021
“If the reports are true, and the Biden administration willfully gave control of Kabul to the Taliban, they have yet again shown their complicity for a terrorist takeover,” Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., noted as well.
If the reports are true, and the Biden administration willfully gave control of Kabul to the Taliban, they have yet again shown their complicity for a terrorist takeover. https://t.co/qmrWSgJpmn— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) August 29, 2021