A series of explosions which happened outside Kabul Airport on 26 August killed over 170 people, including 13 American military servicemen and 28 Taliban* fighters, amid NATO countries’ evacuation effort. Daesh-K* (ISIS-K*) has claimed responsibility for the attack. Will the US return to the country to retaliate?
In the aftermath of the suicide bombing near Kabul Airport, US President Joe Biden has pledged to hunt down Daesh-K* to make them pay for the loss of American lives. For their part, leaders of the UK, France, and Germany have condemned the attack and vowed to coordinate on the emerging challenges amid the evacuation effort. Earlier, G7 states called upon Biden to extend the withdrawal deadline, but the US president opted to stick to 31 August.
US’ NATO Allies Deeply Disappointed
The hasty US withdrawal amid the Taliban takeover has prompted criticism from European policy-makers and the EU leadership. Washington’s European NATO allies are “very disappointed” that the Biden administration did not provide “a meaningful plan” to withdraw from Afghanistan, assist the Afghan government to stay in power, and prevent the Taliban* from grabbing huge stockpiles of Western-made weapons, according to the retired lieutenant colonel.
”The United Kingdom has made it very clear that it is disappointed with the Biden administration’s handling of this entire affair and so that obviously is not a good thing for future relationships,” he points out.
Just in a few days, Washington “rattled the trust of the allies that we’ve had and built relationships with in the past,” echoes Alex Stoval, an army reservist chaplain and Arizona congressional candidate.
REUTERS / US MARINESBritish Royal Marine Commandos and U.S. Marines assigned to the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit work at an Evacuation Control Center (ECC) during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, August 18, 2021
‘As of Yet US Has No Intention of Going Back to Afghanistan’
Biden’s pledge to retaliate has raised questions over the US’ future in the Central Asian state. On Friday, Former US Defence Secretary and CIA Chief Leon Panetta told CNN that the US is “going back” to “get ISIS [Daesh]” and will “probably have to go back in when al-Qaeda resurrects itself.” Earlier, during a June Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and Gen. Mark Milley suggested that al-Qaeda is likely to regroup in two years in Afghanistan after the US withdrawal.
At the same time, the retired lieutenant colonel ruled out the resumption of a full-scale military campaign in Afghanistan in the near future.
“We’re not going to be going back into the country militarily, in my opinion, unless we can trace an attack from the Taliban to the United States,” he notes. “So if that occurs, then we’ll assess it. But at the current time, right now, I think when we leave in the next couple of days, we have no intention of going back into the country.”
REUTERS / US MARINESEvacuees walk to be processed during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, August 25, 2021. Picture taken August 25, 2021
Kabul Tragedy Adds Insult to Dems’ Injury
The tragedy near Kabul Airport has triggered a new wave of criticism against the Biden administration, which is already struggling to deal with negative coverage of the “botched” pullout from Afghanistan. According to conservative media outlet The Daily Wire, elected Republicans, conservatives, and liberal journalists are lambasting President Biden, who remained silent for hours after the blasts.
The House GOP Twitter account accused Biden of “hiding” from the American people for at least five hours after the deadly attack. “President Biden has to give a speech in response to today’s tragic events, and has to answer direct questions,” tweeted journalist Ian Bremmer. For her part, Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn called for impeaching the president.
Ironically, it was former President Donald Trump who offered condolences to the families of those killed in the Kabul attack before the incumbent president broke the silence, according to The Daily Wire.
The unfolding Afghanistan debacle may backfire on the Democratic administration and influence the forthcoming 2022 midterms, argues Alex Stoval. He believes that “more people will vote for policy rather than party, because of the current state of what’s going on in the White House.” According to Stoval, the Trump administration could have handled the pull-out better than their successors.