Taliban has leverage in Afghanistan over Biden admin: Rep. Waltz
House Armed Services Committee member Rep. Michael Waltz argues every time the Taliban doesn’t get access to billions in foreign reserves, economic assistance or international recognition, ‘these thugs’ can walk down the street and ‘take another hostage.’
Taliban fighters took the Afghan capital city of Kabul faster than anyone anticipated earlier this month – including the Taliban – but according to a Washington Post report, the U.S. had an opportunity to hold the city only to willingly turn it over.
When Afghanistan’s president Ashraf Ghani fled the country, the city began to collapse as gangs were reported to be taking over. This led to U.S. military leaders meeting and reaching an agreement with the Taliban, a U.S. official told the Post.
“We have two options to deal with it,” Taliban political leader Abdul Ghani Baradar reportedly said, according to the official. “You [the United States military] take responsibility for securing Kabul or you have to allow us to do it.”
Faced with the decision of whether to accept control over Kabul or allow the Taliban to do so, the U.S. opted for the latter, given President Biden’s insistence on withdrawing from Afghanistan by August 31. As part of the agreement, the U.S. assumed control of Kabul’s airport until the end of the month to facilitate its exit while the Taliban ruled the city.
According to the Post’s report, the Taliban had no intention of taking control of Kabul that day. Prior to Ghani’s departure, the U.S. had not anticipated it either, as several top officials had reportedly been on vacation.
The chaos that ensued when Ghani left, however, required someone to step in. The U.S. decided that it should be the Taliban.
Taliban commander Muhammad Nasir Haqqani was surprised by the outcome. After he and his men reached the city they awaited instructions. Later that day they went in and occupied the palace in under an hour.
“We didn’t see a single soldier or police,” Haqqani said, according to the Post.
“We couldn’t control our emotions, we were so happy. Most of our fighters were crying,” he said. “We never thought we would take Kabul so quickly.”
Under Taliban rule, terrorists were able to hit U.S. forces, as a suicide bomb went off near the airport that killed 13 American service members. After that happened, President Biden warned that another attack was “highly likely” in the coming days.
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