Thursday, September 16, 2021
Thursday, September 16, 2021
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Daily Briefing: WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS OF THE WEEK IN REVIEW” SPECIAL AFGHANISTAN ISSUE (September 1, 2021)

 Joe Biden Bets on Cynicism:  Bill McGurn, WSJ, Aug. 30, 2021 — Even as the last American warplanes lifted off from Kabul on Monday, there were those holding out hope that Joe Biden might yet reconsider letting the Taliban dictate the terms of our exit. These people profoundly misunderstand the president and the political equations driving his decisions.For Mr. Biden, the top priority was to use the 20th anniversary of 9/11 to take a victory lap as the president who ended America’s longest war. When Kabul fell, it added a new imperative: avoid any U.S. combat casualties that would mar the moment. Even at the cost of leaving Americans behind enemy lines and abandoning our Afghan partners.


                                  WEEKLY QUOTES


“The United States ended 20 years of war in Afghanistan, the longest war in American history.” – President Joe Biden during an address at the White House in which he praised the efforts to get more than 120,000 Americans and allies evacuated to safety. “And still, the women and men of the United States military, our diplomatic corps and intelligence professionals did their job and did it well.  It was time to end this war.” — Pres. Joe Biden.  His comments came after celebratory gunfire from the Taliban echoed across Kabul, capping the militant group’s victory in a 20-year war with the United States. (Washington Post, Aug. 31, 2021)
 
“Joe Biden has blood on his hands. The buck stops with the President of the United States. This horrific national security and humanitarian disaster is solely the result of Joe Biden’s weak and incompetent leadership. He is unfit to be Commander-in-Chief.” — Rep. Elise Stefanik (NY).  She is one of 28 Republican calling for President Biden’s resignation following the US’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan. (Conservative Brief, Aug. 31, 2021)
 
“In a stunning statement last Friday in which he defended his withdrawal decision, President Joe Biden claimed that Al-Qaida was “gone” from Afghanistan. The glaring problem with that claim is that Biden did not have the backing of the American security establishment to make it. An hour after Biden spoke, Defense Department Press Secretary John Kirby stated, “We know Al-Qaida is a presence in Afghanistan.  A Defense Department report to Congress issued on Aug. 17 plainly states, “The Taliban continued to maintain its relationship with Al-Qaida, providing safe haven for the terrorist group in Afghanistan.” Roughly at the same time, the Taliban released 5,000 prisoners from Bagram airbase, which included Al-Qaida and Islamic State operatives.” – Dr. Dore Gold, former Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations. (Israel Hayom, Aug. 30, 2021) “I understand that we’re trying to get our troops out of there, but the bottom line is, we can leave a battlefield, but we can’t leave the war on terrorism, which still is a threat to our security. We’re going to have to go back in to get ISIS,” — former CIA Director Leon Panetta.  As secretary of defense under President Barack Obama who oversaw the U.S.-led mission that killed al Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden. The attack on Kabul’s airport last week killed 14 Americans, more than a hundred Afghan civilians, two British nationals, and the child of another British national. (Epoch Times, Aug. 30, 2021)
 
“Now we are looking at the exit and over the next two days, our heroic military is doing the best they can with a horrible policy decision. This is one of the worst foreign policy decisions in American history. Much worse than Saigon, because after we left Saigon, there weren’t Vietnamese terrorists who were planning on attacking us here at home.”  — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to host Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.” Just because we decided to quit fighting doesn’t mean the terrorists go away. So they are still out there, they are invigorated, they are emboldened and excited about the success they say in bringing America to its knees in Afghanistan.” (Epoch Times, Aug. 30, 2021)
 
“Though Pakistan was supposed to be an American ally, it always worked toward its own interests, as nations do. Those interests did not include a large American military presence on its border, an autonomous Afghanistan with a democratic government it could not control, or a strong and centralized military.” – political columnist Jane Perlez.  (NY Times, Aug. 26, 2021)
 
“Dave Fraser, a retired Canadian army general with the Veterans Transition Network, said less than 20 per cent of the 1,000 employees and family members his group was helping had been airlifted out as of Wednesday. ‘The question is what’s the plan for those people…I don’t see a plan yet…We cannot abandon them. They’ve got to feel that there’s still hope for their situation’… Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau said the security situation keeps deteriorating, and that with time running out, ‘there is a possibility that we’re not going to be able to bring everyone that we want to when the air bridge stops.’ He said that Canada would be lobbying the Taliban to allow any Afghans who desire it to leave the country.”– Tom Blackwell.  (National Post, Aug. 26, 2021)
 
“There are unknown thousands of people still in Afghanistan who have earned the right to a safer life in Canada who’ll be left behind when the last allied flight takes off…this is a bitter pill to swallow, but it’s no longer in doubt…Canada and its allies won’t do a thing to stop what’s coming. Abandoned by us, our friends will be at the mercy of the Taliban…bureaucratic inertia and typically placid Canadian government crisis management slowed down our efforts, there should be hell to pay for that here.” – Canadian political columnist Matt Gurney.  (National Post, Aug. 26, 2021)
 
“I am exhausted. I am frustrated. And I am angry. President Biden said last week that “American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves.” It’s true that the Afghan Army lost its will to fight. But that’s because of the growing sense of abandonment by our American partners and the disrespect and disloyalty reflected in Mr. Biden’s tone and words over the past few months. The Afghan Army is not without blame. It had its problems — cronyism, bureaucracy — but we ultimately stopped fighting because our partners already had.” — General Sami Sadat, commander in the Afghan National Army. (NYTimes, Aug. 25, 2021)
 
“We are worried our forces who are new and have not been trained very well may mistreat womenWe don’t want our forces, God forbid, to harm or harass women.” — Zabihullah Mujahid, Taliban spokesman. — (The Globe and Mail, Aug. 25, 2021)
 
“The leaderships of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad both hurried to issue a statement of support and congratulate the Taliban on its brilliant victory. And when the leader of the Taliban expressed his gratitude to the well-wishers, he made a point of tying the success in Afghanistan to the Palestinian effort to eradicate Israel and establish a Palestinian state from the river to the sea. Even if Hamas leaders understand how its strength matches up to Israel, and recognizes the massive responsibility they bear for the people in the Gaza Strip—including the importance of advancing rebuilding efforts and improving the humanitarian situation there—what Hamas sees as the Taliban’s tenacity and sacrifice resulting in a glorious victory over the United States may well destabilize Hamas’s sense of responsibility and care, and loosen their reins of restraint.” INSS researchers and  columnists Kobi Michael and Yoel Guzansky. (Fikra Forum, Aug. 24, 2021)
 
“On the global stage, he wishes to concentrate his efforts on the rivalry with China; however, this is a battle for economic hegemony rather than a battle over values. You and I, both citizens of loyal U.S. allies, are not in a position to preach to the president of the United States where to send his soldiers to fight. We must respect this decision. However, the American president is no longer able to preach values to Middle Eastern rulers such as Egypt’s Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi or Saudi Arabia’s Mohammad Bin Salman. He who has given up on the war on radical Islam must allow those who still fight it to act as they see fit.” – Dr. Ephraim Snell in a letter to a friend in the Gulf.  (Ynet, Aug. 24, 2021)
 
“A U.S. official involved in evacuation told the Journal that whoever got to the front of the mob outside the airport first got in regardless of their connections to the U.S. ‘This was all because of optics to show those planes full of people’, the official said. ‘American citizens are stuck outside the gates and people are going to die in our care because we let them all in–some incredibly sick, wounded, literally half dead. The airport is now a refugee camp’ “ – columnists Vivian Salama, Jessica Donati and Gordon Lubold.  (WSJ, Aug. 24, 2021)
 
“The current debacle in Afghanistan is not only the Biden Administration’s shame but America’s shame–all the more so if the U.S. fails to provide a haven for the thousands of Afghans who risked everything to serve America and allied forces and who are now in deadly danger along with their families…. Afghan refugees have already risked their lives to serve America. Now they will inject new meaning into the American experiment.” —  columnist Arthur Herman (WSJ, Aug. 24, 2021)
 
“If Biden was determined simply to leave, and had accordingly advised the allies whom he has been assuring that the United States “is back,” an evacuation of all personnel starting with the most vulnerable and ending with the strongest military units, which would have coordinated and covered the entire operation could have been executed. The president would have had trouble defending the evacuation as a strategic step but would at least have spared himself the terminal embarrassment of the chaos, cowardice, and desertion that he has inflicted upon himself and his administration.” – Canadian political columnist Conrad Black.  (Epoch Times, Aug. 23, 2021)
 
“Let’s hope they’re going to be living with the people of Afghanistan because you cannot rule a country under any name if the people of that country hate you. The people of Afghanistan hate what the governments of Karzai and Ghani and the systems did to them in the past 20 years. But saying the people of Afghanistan love the Taliban, that’s not the truth. The Taliban have to live with us, prove it to us as to how they’re going to treat us, then we’re going to decide whether we will love them or not. But right now, from the background that exists in Afghanistan, the way they have treated the people, there’s no love lost among us. … I really hope they don’t push us into a civil war at this point. Because of the ego of a few men, this country went to hell.  — Afghanistan’s noted women’s rights activist Mahbouba Seraj appealing to the world to let Afghans live in peace now. (India Today, Aug. 18, 2021)
 
“The White House is already spinning the evacuation as a triumph of planning and brilliant execution. They say they always knew withdrawal would be messy…But never mind. As the political spin picks up speed, Mr. Biden’s panicked evacuation from Kabul will soon be compared on MSNBC to the Berlin Airlift…The Afghan withdrawal is one of the sorriest American failures in decades., Its consequences will play out for years, if not decades, as friends and foes recalibrate their views of U.S. political will in general. …The Taliban and Al Qaeda will use it as a recruiting ad for young jihadists. China, Russia and Iran are already considering how they can exploit a weak America…. With three and a half more years to go in his Presidency, the world is going to become much more dangerous.” – Editorial. (WSJ, Aug. 24, 2021)
  SHORT TAKES
TALIBAN LEADER WAS FREED FROM GUANTANAMO BAY IN 2014 SWAP BY OBAMA (Washington) — When President Barack Obama released five Taliban commanders from the Guantanamo Bay prison in exchange for an American deserter in 2014, he assured a wary public that the dangerous enemy combatants would be transferred to Qatar and kept from causing any trouble in Afghanistan. Soon after gaining their freedom, some of the notorious Taliban Five pledged to return to fight Americans in Afghanistan and made contacts with active Taliban militants there. But the Obama-Biden administration turned a blind eye to the disturbing intelligence reports, and it wasn’t long before the freed detainees used Qatar as a base to form a regime in exile. Eventually, they were recognized by Western diplomats as official representatives of the Taliban during recent “peace” talks. (NY Post, Aug.16, 2021)
 
US MARINE RESIGNS, SEEKING ACCOUNTABILITY FROM MILITARY LEADERS OVER AFGHANISTAN WITHDRAWAL(Washington) — Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller, the U.S. Marine dismissed from command after criticizing senior military leadership on the handling of the U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, announced that he is resigning his commission. Scheller defended his first video published on Aug. 26, which criticized the Afghanistan withdrawal, saying he was calling for “accountability of my senior leaders” over “obvious mistakes that were made.” (Epoch Times, Aug. 30, 2021)
 
TALIBAN KILL SQUAD HUNTING DOWN AFGHANS — USING US BIOMETRIC DATA (Kabul) — Nawazuddin Haqqani, one of the brigade commanders over the Al Isha unit, bragged in an interview with Zenger News that his unit is using US-made hand-held scanners to tap into a massive US-built biometric database and positively identify any person who helped the NATO allies or worked with Indian intelligence. Afghans who try to deny or minimize their role will find themselves contradicted by the detailed computer records that the US left behind in its frenzied withdrawal. (NY Post, Aug. 27, 2021)
 
EX-MILITARY OFFICERS CALL FOR AUSTIN, MILLEY TO RESIGN OVER AFGHANISTAN DEBACLE (Washington) — 87 retired generals and admirals have called on Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley to step down, accusing them of “negligence” in connection with the disastrous US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. The signatories include retired Navy Rear Adm. John Poindexter, a former national security adviser under President Ronald Reagan; Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas), a former Navy rear admiral and longtime White House physician; and retired Army Brig. Gen. Donald Bolduc, a Republican candidate to represent New Hampshire in the US Senate next year. (NY Post, Aug. 30, 2021)
 
ROUGHLY 1,250 CANADIAN CITIZENS AND THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS LEFT BEHIND IN AFGHANISTAN (Kabul) — Canadian officials said that roughly 1,250 Canadian citizens and their family members were left behind in Afghanistan — the first such estimate provided to the public — while adding that they would resettle 5,000 Afghans evacuated by the United States. Amid pressure from veterans and advocacy groups, Canada last month announced that it would resettle Afghans who aided Canada’s war effort or its diplomats and their families. It estimated that 6,000 people might be eligible for resettlement under the program.  (Washington Post, Aug. 31, 2021)


  FOR FURTHER REFERENCE


WATCH LIVE: Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby Holds A News Briefing:  YouTube, Aug. 16, 2021Biden Slammed For Appearing To Look At His Watch During Ceremony For Dead Marines:  Tyler O’Neil, Fox News, Aug. 30, 2021

— Conservatives and veterans attacked President Biden for appearing to look at his watch during a ceremony for the 13 U.S. service members killed in an ISIS-K suicide bombing near the Kabul airport in Afghanistan last week

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