“American’s longest war” -- the 20-year battle in Afghanistan that followed the terrorist attacks on the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001 – has been proclaimed by the nation’s leaders as over. But the fallout from the conclusion to the mission there is likely far from done.
The Taliban are back in control and its leadership includes people wanted as terrorists. And though the Taliban and ISIS are enemies, both are terror organizations, and Al-Qaeda again stands to become a threat again from inside Afghanistan.
The U.S. continues to have Americans in the country at the mercy of the Taliban if they are to depart. They were left behind in what President Joe Biden has praised as an extraordinary airlift of people out of Afghanistan. Call them hostages or not, they are.
The Taliban now has U.S. weaponry left behind, an arsenal that our forces could end up facing if the threat of another 9-11 takes root in Afghanistan – which seems likely.
James Hutton is a former assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and is a retired colonel in the U.S. Army. Writing for InsideSources.com, he says AARs (Army After-Action Reviews) are due.
• Biden described his decision to leave Afghanistan in the way we have as based on a consensus of advisers’ recommendations. No one apparently dissented. A roll call of senior officials is needed.
• Who advised Biden that evacuating the military before removing Americans (and others) was the best course of action? Knowing this answer will help evaluate the fitness to serve of everyone involved in the decision.
• Biden denied that the U.S. intelligence community had assessed that the Afghan government would likely collapse. The leaders of the intelligence agencies should be heard from in hearings.
• Did Biden misrepresent to the American public what he knew to be untrue when he uttered, “the likelihood there’s going to be the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely”?
• Americans need to know what changed from the time Biden promised to get all Americans out and the actual departure.
• Did Biden ask then-Afghan President Ashraf Ghani during a phone call July 23 to lie when he said, “... And there is a need, whether it is true or not, there is a need to project a different picture,” about the need to change what Biden called a perception problem?
• Who did we kill, precisely, in the drone strike that occurred days after our service members were killed at the Kabul airport?
• Other issues we need to know about include the expectations for women in Afghanistan now and the discussions about it; the danger Al-Qaeda now poses for the U.S.; the status of the individuals we evacuated and where they will end up after leaving U.S. military installations and many more questions.
Americans have witnessed an inglorious and dangerous ending to the present chapter in Afghanistan. But there is plenty that Americans need and deserve to know. Let’s get on with getting some answers.