Over the last week or so we've been reading about the scope of the debacle in Afghanistan. Much of the reporting has focused on the sheer quantity of military materiel that we've gifted to the Taliban, as well as the humanitarian crisis at the airport in Kabul.
This morning it appears that things are about to, if anything, get worse.
Thanks to a leaked State Department cable, we now have a handle on critical numbers. It appears that there are as many as 20,000 Americans still in Afghanistan. In the meantime, the US evacuation has been focusing--as far as one can speak of "focus" in this debacle--on evacuating Afghans. The upshot is that it appears unlikely, for reasons given below, that all Americans will be evacuated. Red State runs the numbers:
With the exact number in hand, educated guesses are no longer required. We know for a fact that this evacuation is going to fail. There are only 4-5 days left to get these people out due to the logistics of the 8/31 deadline, and according to the cable, there are perhaps 20,000+ Americans still stranded throughout Afghanistan. Even if you take the low-end estimate that only 10,000 Americans were originally stuck, that means we are still way behind schedule, and the situation on the ground in regards to getting to the airport is only getting worse. In other words, you will likely see fewer, not more Americans making it to planes over the next few days.
The Taliban is insisting on that 8/31 deadline, and the US, from all indications, isn't in a position to do anything about it. Or doesn't intend to. Word was that Zhou's CIA chief met with the Taliban to plead for an extension. It seems the Taliban are like most feral types--signs of weakness only encourage them. They told the CIA to pound sand. The result? The situation I speculated on last week:
I mean, if you're the Taliban you were probably saying long ago: 'Take American hostages? Hell yeah! That's the kind of thing we do.' That result was a no-brainer all along:
A Taliban spokesman has given another press conference, ... and he’s unequivocally stated that the terrorist group will not allow an extension of the 8/31 deadline to evacuate Americans and Afghan allies from the war-torn nation.
The Taliban just pantsed the President of the United States.￼ [That's what Red State calls this guy.]
This is incredibly embarrassing. ... It’s hard to imagine how this situation can get any worse, though, it undoubtedly will.
Further, what the Taliban have done here is essentially announce a coming hostage crisis. As a leaked State Department cable showed last night, the evacuation of American citizens is lagging way behind the pace needed to end the operation on 8/31. Many can’t even attempt to get to the airport and are effectively trapped behind enemy lines. There could easily be tens of thousands of Americans left behind unless a genuine miracle occurs. As the deadline approaches and ultimately passes, the Taliban have every incentive to start using those abandoned by the president as leverage. What do they have to lose?
What is the US going to do--re-invade Afghanistan? With military preparedness hinging on vax status--according to some dude name Austin--and with at least a third of military personnel declining the injections, we're in no position to do anything of the sort. Unless I'm missing something.
Where do we stand now? Here's the latest:
SKY News ^ | August 24, 2021
The US president has agreed with a Pentagon recommendation to stick with his planned withdrawal deadline, despite pressure from NATO allies, an administration official has told Reuters news agency.
Yeah, that'll go down really well with "NATO allies." Breitbart has a pretty thorough article on the whole situation, including this:
Later Tuesday, G-7 leaders plan to discuss the crisis in Afghanistan, as European leaders press the U.S. to consider delaying its withdrawal to allow more time to evacuate those desperate to leave.
U.S. administration officials have refused to be pinned down about whether an extension is likely or even possible given that a Taliban spokesman has warned that Aug. 31 is a “red line” and that extending the American presence would “provoke a reaction.”
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the majority of local staff who worked for his country in Afghanistan haven’t yet gotten out and called Tuesday’s meeting “very important” for discussing international access to the Kabul airport beyond the end of August. Britain’s defense minister separately has called the deadline a “mistake.”
Re that G-7 meetings, the Daily Mail is reporting:
Zhou Baidan today shrugged off pleas from Boris Johnson and other allies to extend the Kabul evacuation after the Taliban warned it will not tolerate delay to the August 31 deadline for troops leaving. Boris Johnson, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel used a G7 meeting to urge the president to keep the operation going longer, but the entreaties appear to have fallen on deaf ears.
So it goes. In terms of politics, it's just about impossible to see this regime lasting much longer--although a successor regime is almost as difficult to envision. To be honest, however, I'm more concerned about the collapse of Western civilization at this point.