Joe Biden is doing what Donald Trump promised to do but never quite got around to. He’s pulling our military forces out of Afghanistan.
The U.S. military presence is small — only 2,500 to 3,500 troops, according to the Washington Post. U.S. casualties are minimal. Ten American servicemen died in Afghanistan last year, only four them in action.
Yet, this low level of commitment has blocked the Taliban from gaining control of significant chunks of Afghanistan. It has thereby prevented that bloodthirsty Islamist outfit from taking vengeance on populations that cast their lot with the U.S. in our war against terrorism. In addition, it has ensured that Afghanistan won’t be a staging ground for attacks on America, as it was when the Taliban ran the country in 2001.
No longer, though. As our troops leave, the Taliban swoops. In the past month or so, it has seized control of more than 50 of Afghanistan’s 370 districts. Many of these districts surround provincial capitals. When America’s withdrawal is complete, if not before, the Taliban will likely take these capitals.
Mazar-e-Sharif is Afghanistan’s fourth largest city and the capital of Balkh province. For nearly two decades, it has been impregnable to the Taliban. Now, according to the Washington Post, it is in serious danger of falling.
A great nation doesn’t abandon an ally it has enlisted to fight terrorism when the alternative is to keep 2,500-3,500 troops on hand.
But Biden’s actions (or inaction), at least to date, are worse than that. According to the Post, he has failed to take measures to protect the Afghan interpreters, translators, and others who directly assisted U.S. and NATO forces.
A minimally decent nation doesn’t abandon those who served shoulder-to-shoulder with its personnel in wartime.
By virtue of a law enacted in 2009, the Secretary of State is required to make “a reasonable effort” to offer protection or to remove such Afghans if they are facing “imminent danger.” As our troops leave, we are no longer offering protection to interpreters, translators, etc., and they are now in imminent danger. Soon, they will be at the mercy of the Taliban.
Their only way out right now is through a special immigrant visa. But as the Post shows, the process for issuing these visas is hopelessly bogged down.
The solution is to evacuate these people now. To this end, Rep. Peter Meijer, a Republican, is calling on the administration to bring them to Guam (as we brought Vietnamese there after the fall of Saigon). There, they can wait in safety while their visa applications are processed. The governor of Guam has told Biden he is on board with this proposal.
Biden has yet to get on board. He needs to. As the Post says:
The United States has a profound obligation to take care of those who risked their lives to serve alongside its troops. It cannot leave their fate to chance or ill-prepared afterthought.
The general bloodbath that awaits Afghans whom the Taliban has it in for will be bad enough. A bloodbath of those who directly assisted America would be beyond disgraceful.
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