Debacle. That is the only right and proper way to describe President Joe Biden’s handling of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. Biden lost every point he’s dropped in national polling this week entirely of his own accord, and history will not be any kinder to his foreign policy legacy. Most Americans might agree with the White House decision to exit Afghanistan. Regardless, August 2021 will remain an indelible stain on the United States’ reputation.
That was already the case before yesterday’s horrific suicide bombing outside Kabul’s international airport, which left at least 100 dead, including 13 U.S. servicemembers, and 150 injured, according to the latest reports. It is even more so today.
How did this happen? Was it an intelligence failure? A military failure? A failure of diplomacy? It was all those things, and more. But the Biden administration’s mishandling of the pullout was above all a failure of leadership. There is no point in second-guessing his decision to honor a flawed agreement made by his predecessor, Donald Trump, with the Taliban. What matters is what happened after Biden announced his decision to end the U.S. military engagement in April.