It was inevitable that the mainstream media would eventually abandon their newfound ability to blame Joe Biden for the series of unfolding disasters in Afghanistan that have taken place on his watch. But since he’s the Commander-in-Chief and holds the ultimate authority for anything the military does, who else could be found to serve as a scapegoat? You didn’t really have to ask that question. Obviously they’ll find a way to blame the guy who hasn’t been in office for more than eight months now. And that’s precisely what NBC News attempted to do last night, specifically tracing “the roots” of the ISIS-K bombings yesterday back to something Donald Trump did more than 18 months ago. That’s right… NBC has pivoted back around and seeks to blame the Doha agreement that Trump signed off on with the Taliban in February of 2020. They are grudgingly forced to admit that Biden does ” hold his share of responsibility,” but the real fault lies with Trump, you see.
The rushed evacuation and its vulnerability to Thursday’s deplorable attack were inevitable outcomes of the rapid collapse of the Afghan government. But while Biden does, indeed, hold his share of responsibility for that collapse, he wasn’t inaccurate when he pointed out in his news conference Thursday that the architecture of the hasty U.S. withdrawal and the inevitable deadly chaos that has followed was constructed by the previous commander in chief. Indeed, if there was ever a chance for a more orderly U.S. exit — and to be clear, that’s far from certain — one of Biden’s biggest mistakes might have been to adhere to the deal former President Donald Trump made with the Taliban rather than set his own terms and timeline.
We need only rewind to February 2020, when the Trump administration signed the Doha agreement with the Taliban, in which the U.S. pledged to withdraw all U.S. and NATO forces by May 1, 2021, in exchange for the Taliban’s ceasing attacks on U.S. forces, forsaking ties to groups like Al Qaeda and agreeing to hold peace negotiations with the Afghan government, which then still controlled most of the country even though it was increasingly losing ground to the Taliban.
Rather than turning this into some sort of Trump love festival, I’ll start by admitting that the Doha agreement was a dumb move on Trump’s part. While well-intentioned, signing any agreement with the Taliban is a fruitless effort since they lie about literally everything and they violate every agreement they make. Expecting them to hold to the Doha agreement was nearly as foolish as all of the negotiations the Biden administration has engaged in with the Taliban, leading to the deadly results we’re seeing this week.
With that said, Joe Biden has been in charge of the war in Afghanistan and our anticipated departure from the war for more than eight months now. This game of blameshifting falls apart immediately because the Doha agreement was not a “treaty” that was enacted by Congress. It was, at best, an informal handshake. Biden was under no obligation to stick to it whatsoever.
But let’s give NBC News the benefit of the doubt here and pretend that the agreement was binding. The Taliban began violating it before the ink was even dry. While we didn’t experience any combat deaths among our troops for most of that period and the Taliban did seem to focus more of their attacks on the Afghan army forces, there were still attacks on our military on a regular basis, so the agreement was already null and void. As to forsaking their ties to terror groups, Al Qaeda and ISIS were still alive and well in Afghanistan, has been made all too clear this month. As for promising to negotiate with the Afghan government, the Taliban put some window dressing on that promise, but immediately turned around and broke every deal they made. Oh, and in case you hadn’t noticed, they overthrew the government the moment we began pulling out.
On top of all of that, the Doha agreement said that we would be out of Afghanistan by May 1, so Joe Biden himself had already violated it long before the situation on the ground reached its current state of armageddon. The reality is that the Doha agreement had fallen apart from virtually the moment it was drafted. And as I already mentioned, Joe Biden was not only under no obligation to stick to those terms, but he didn’t stick to those terms. He’s been freestyling this since the moment he was sworn in.
And what did that freestyling policy deliver for us? The voluntary sacrifice of the airfield at Bagram, which would have been the most secure place from which to evacuate everyone. We enjoyed the false, foolish claims, right up until the end of July, that the Afghan government would last well into the future and our embassy would remain secure and operational going forward. Joe Biden ignored the warnings and counsel of his top military and intelligence specialists about the alarm bells that should have been going off in the Oval Office and decided to negotiate with the Taliban over and over again. Yesterday a group of our Marines paid for these errors with their lives, as did a huge number of Afghans who were trusting us to get them out of the country and away from the clutches of the Taliban.
Sorry, NBC News. As much as you’ve become gold medalists in the sport of blameshifting, particularly when it comes to the 45th president, you don’t get to blame Donald Trump for this one. That doesn’t mean you won’t keep trying, but your weak attempts to find a way to excuse Joe Biden’s failures in Afghanistan are transparent and futile.