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Sprinkles from the Left

⏰🚀 Ready, Set, Go: These opinions take 1.60 minutes to read.

“Enormous as it is, the number of people evacuated by air from Kabul since the end of July — about 122,000 — is not large enough. Thankfully, many thousands of American citizens, third-country nationals and Afghans who worked directly for U.S. and allied military forces or embassies made it out. But many thousands of people did not… This is a moral disaster, one attributable not to the actions of military and diplomatic personnel in Kabul — who have been courageous and professional, in the face of deadly dangers — but to mistakes, strategic and tactical, by Mr. Biden and his administration…

Nearly 100 nations, including the United States, issued a statement promising that their “citizens, nationals and residents, employees, Afghans who have worked with us and those who are at risk” will be able “to travel freely” outside Afghanistan, and that they “have received assurances from the Taliban” that this will be allowed.

Any “assurances” by the Taliban clash with statements their spokesmen made during the crisis that the United States was wrongly inducing Afghans to leave — not to mention the group’s record of murdering perceived enemies…

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday that the United States still has “significant leverage” over the Taliban. If so, the Biden administration must use it, relentlessly, until every Afghan with a legitimate claim to refuge has found it.”

Editorial Board, Washington Post ($)

“Vietnam, cited so often in recent days, was undoubtedly a debacle. But it did not spell the end of American leadership on the world stage, nor did it lead others to believe they could not depend on the United States. And since then, there have been many other geopolitical challenges and top-level decisions (or lack thereof) that have cast doubt on American credibility. They did not, however, lead to a waning of American influence…

Partners and allies will publicly decry American decisions for some time, as they continue to rely on the U.S. economy and military. The reality will remain: America is the most powerful country in the world, and its allies will need its help to combat direct threats and an array of new, growing national security dangers, including cyberwar and climate change.

That does not mean that the United States can dismiss the costs of its mistakes in Afghanistan. But it does show that America can recover…

It’s easy to despair over the idea that the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan has forever doomed American credibility. Undeniably, the United States has paid and will likely continue to pay a high price in Afghanistan.

But it can recoup, just as it has before.”

Dennis B. Ross, counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (published in the NYT)

AN AFGHANI PERSPECTIVE (NONPARTISAN)

“I worked on USAID-funded projects to support and observe Afghanistan’s electoral process for nearly three years. I am now employed by an international nonprofit. My former employer submitted the paperwork for my special immigrant visa and then for the P-2 visa program, for Afghans who worked for American contractors, nonprofits and news outlets. A U.S. lawmaker wrote a letter urging that I be granted immediate access to the airport and put on a flight…

I waited and hoped to be put on a flight list. The call never came. I heard stories of people with no documents or improper documents making it onto planes. The erratic and mismanaged evacuation was disappointing and heartbreaking for me and many other Afghans who served in the toughest conditions with their U.S. partners… When the last U.S. plane left Afghanistan, celebratory Taliban gunfire rang out through the night in Kabul. The sound told me that all hope was lost.”

Rasheed ; an Afghan who worked on U.S.-government-funded projects in Afghanistan for nearly three years. He and his family members remain in Afghanistan, and he is identified only by an abbreviated form of his first name out of concern for his safety. (Published in the NYT - $)

Sprinkles from the Right

⏰🚀 Ready, Set, Go: These opinions take 1.59 minutes to read.

“The last American troops left Kabul on Monday, ending a 20-year conflict but also diminishing the hope of escape for tens of thousands of Afghan interpreters and others who helped America…

The catalogue of strategic and military misjudgments that led to this ignominious day are many, and they flow from the current President of the United States. He insisted on a rapid, complete departure, despite the recommendation of most advisers to keep a residual force. He insisted on leaving Bagram and other airfields, taking U.S. contractors who were needed to keep the Afghan air force flying.

After the government fell, Mr. Biden refused to alter his plan in order to create safe spaces beyond the Kabul airport to help with the evacuation. That would have required more troops and Mr. Biden was set on rapid withdrawal to vindicate his original decision.

The Washington Post reports that, amid the Afghan government’s collapse, the Taliban offered to let the U.S. provide security in Kabul. Mr. Biden and the U.S. military said all they needed was the airport. Mr. Biden also chose to rely on the Taliban for security around the airport—with deadly results for 13 young American servicemen and women.

Mr. Biden and his aides have been repeating like a mantra that there will be time for assessing responsibility for what went wrong and why after the evacuation ends. That should start immediately. A national-security calamity of this magnitude demands an accounting, and it should start at the top.”

Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal

“President Joe Biden has admitted, without a word of apology, that the United States has broken its word and left behind tens of thousands of Afghans who worked and fought alongside us…

Experts estimate that at least 300,000 Afghans face Taliban backlash for associating with Americans these last two decades. And the terrorists have already begun taking revenge…

Hiding looks impossible: Taliban troops arriving in Kabul rushed to Afghan government offices to grab files that identified, among other things, intelligence officers and informers. More info came thanks to Uncle Sam, abandoned in the middle-of-the-night scramble out of Bagram air base: biometric devices and data that can identify our Afghan allies via iris scans and fingerprints.

The State Department released a statement Sunday vowing to hold the Taliban to their promise to let people leave Afghanistan after the US bugout. But what leverage does America have? Not one person who aided America should have been left in the country after we withdrew. When the inevitable happens, Biden will have more blood on his hands.”

Editorial Board, New York Post