Joe Biden on foreign policy is a bit like Paul Krugman on the economy — always wrong, as former Obama Defense Secretary Robert Gates said.
It’s one of those things like death and taxes that you know will always be there in some way.
So when Joe Biden says that it isn’t inevitable that the Taliban will be taking over in Afghanistan now that we are pulling out, you know there’s going to be a big problem.
“No, it is not,” Biden stated when asked about an “inevitable” Taliban takeover. “Because you have the Afghan troops, they’re 300,000 well-equipped, as well equipped as any army in the world, and an air force against something like 75,000 Taliban. It is not inevitable.”
Later in the impromptu press conference, the president rejected reports claiming that U.S. intelligence assessments and top military officials in the country have determined the Taliban will take back power within a year — or sooner.
“That is not true,” Biden answered flatly to a question on the subject. “They did not reach that conclusion.”
So did he just deny the intelligence community’s assessment? Yes, he did. Where is the media to attack him over that, as they did President Donald Trump? And he got testy as he frequently does when he’s challenged (and wrong).
Sounds like U.S. intel might know a bit more than Biden.
Well, that was a fun 20 years. What else is on tv? pic.twitter.com/ONm0uezWMM
— tsar becket adams (@BecketAdams) July 9, 2021
The Taliban is claiming today that they are in control of 85% of the country after they seized key border crossings with Iran and Turkmenistan as part of their ongoing actions. While the 85% is likely an exaggeration, claiming “most” might not be wrong and the seizure of the border crossings is true.
The Taliban has taken control of two border crossings, both in Herat province:
Islam Qala, which borders Iran
Torghundi, which borders Turkmenistan
The Afghan government is losing control of its borders. https://t.co/Tdg5hs36hy
— Bill Roggio (@billroggio) July 9, 2021
The Taliban is also advancing on Spin Boldak in Kandahar, which borders Pakistan.
This is all part of the Taliban’s strategy of strangling the Afghan government & major cities. Everyone who said the rural districts don’t matter need to look inward and reflect on their failure.
— Bill Roggio (@billroggio) July 9, 2021
You can see how much territory they’ve seized control of, just since April, which shows more than half — 204 of 398 districts.
The Taliban's increasing hold over Afghanistan.#AFPgraphics map showing parts of Afghanistan under government control and territories under the influence of the Taliban, from April till July pic.twitter.com/5OfEEPV7mC
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) July 8, 2021
Biden talks about the Afghan Air Force, an asset that the Taliban doesn’t have. But the Taliban is employing a method to equalize the forces — assassinating the U.S.-trained Afghan pilots. Afghan Air Force Major Dastagir Zamaray was concerned, so he went to meet with a realtor to move to a safer area of Kabul. The Taliban showed up and gunned him and the realtor down. He fell on top of his 14-year-old son who had come along to the realtor. The boy now barely speaks. Zamaray’s killing was just one example of this tactic to neutralize the Air Force advantage. Also, because of the U.S. pull-out, it’s not clear that the Air Force will be maintained as it had been before without U.S. help or contractors.
A U.N. report documented 229 civilian deaths caused by the Taliban in Afghanistan in the first three months of 2021, and 41 civilian deaths caused by the Afghan Air Force over the same period.
Afghanistan’s government has not publicly disclosed the number of pilots assassinated in targeted killings. The nation’s Defense Ministry did not respond to requests for comment. The Pentagon said it was aware of the deaths of several Afghan pilots in killings claimed by the Taliban, but declined comment on U.S. intelligence and investigations.
But this is where we are right now and Joe Biden doesn’t seem to have a clue. Meanwhile the Pentagon press secretary, John Kirby, just conceded there was a “deteriorating security situation.”