While President Biden was publicly expressing confidence in the ability of Afghan security forces to keep the Taliban out of major cities, he was reportedly being warned in private that the insurgents were capable of recapturing huge swathes of the country following a NATO withdrawal. Maryland Senator Ben Cardin is one of the many members of Congress reporting that this outcome was privately expected even as the White House made optimistic statements to the contrary.
Biden lied about Afghan readiness
Confident remarks made in July about the impossibility of another Saigon scenario have already come back to haunt Biden amid the botched evacuation efforts in Kabul.
New reports are indicating that the White House was not only incompetent but lying as well. The administration was reportedly fully aware of the sorry state of the Afghan National Army.
The White House knew that the Kabul government was likely to collapse in the months after the United States officially withdrew military forces from the country.
Biden quietly accepted this even as he continued to inform Americans that the twenty year investment in Afghanistan could now come to a positive conclusion.
The White House assumed that the Taliban conquest would be slow enough to allow for a calm evacuation and that by the time the insurgents entered Kabul the American public would no longer be interested in Afghanistan.
They were catastrophically wrong; the Taliban retook the entire country in a matter of days in an offensive which stunned the world and drew all eyes to Afghanistan, and the disastrously planned American withdrawal.
Democrats like Senator Cardin have struggled to deflect criticism from Biden, though American allies abroad have widely condemned the handling of the situation.
Reports which indicate that the White House knew the extent to which Afghan forces were liable to crumble under a Taliban offensive will do nothing to lessen the pressure being felt by the administration.
Afghanistan may be only the first of several looming crises which will become impossible for the media to ignore; similar attention for the border or rising inflation may be just as harmful.
The American public overwhelmingly opposed the idea of remaining in Afghanistan indefinitely; recent events are unlikely to have convinced many that lengthy foreign occupations are productive for the United States.
The frequently incompetent and dishonest handling of the withdrawal will likely mean that what should have been a popular move for the White House has already become an extremely damaging and humiliating fiasco.
The crisis in Afghanistan has exposed to the world just how absent active leadership really is under the Biden Administration. This is unlikely to be the last crisis which this president struggles to cope with.