ANALYSIS: Biden Is Playing The Blame Game, But His Culpability In Afghanistan Stretches Over A Decade

(MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images)

Anders Hagstrom White House Correspondent
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President Joe Biden blamed former President Donald Trump and the Afghan government for his administration’s ongoing disastrous withdrawal from America’s longest war, but Biden has been culpable for over a decade.

Biden addressed the nation Monday regarding the Taliban’s overthrow of the Afghan government, which took just a matter of days instead of the months the administration previously predicted. Americans were treated to images of U.S. forces scrambling to evacuate citizens and Afghan allies as the Taliban took over the Afghan capital of Kabul throughout Monday. But while Biden tried to shift blame for the withdrawal, he was in favor of the war in Afghanistan from its outset, and even served as vice president during its apex. (RELATED: Taliban Fighters Enter Kabul After Afghan President Flees)

Footage from Kabul has shown desperate residents flocking to the airport to flee with American forces. Throngs of people crowded the runways and even clung to U.S. Air Force transport planes as they took off. At least one person was reportedly killed after strapping themselves to the outside of the plane and plummeting hundreds of feet to their death during takeoff.

Biden, who has a tendency to inflate his foreign policy record, argued in his address that America’s mission in Afghanistan was never supposed to be “nation-building.” He further argued that the U.S. completed its mission of destroying al-Qaida and killing Osama Bin Laden a decade ago and should have withdrawn then and there. Biden, however, was vice president a decade ago when all these missions were apparently completed. Far from pushing for an end to the war, he, in fact, advised then-President Barack Obama not to move forward with the operation that killed Bin Laden.

Biden served as Obama’s vice president when the U.S. sent 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan in 2009, with Obama explicitly arguing that there was more to the mission than simply defeating al-Qaida.

“So I want the American people to understand that we have a clear and focused goal: to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaida in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to prevent their return to either country in the future,” Obama said at the time.  “That’s the goal that must be achieved.  That is a cause that could not be more just.  And to the terrorists who oppose us, my message is the same:  We will defeat you.”

Obama’s words echoed Biden’s own after returning from a trip to Afghanistan in early 2008. Biden, a senator at the time, argued that the U.S. mission was not simply to dismantle the al-Qaida, but to ensure no extremist group could thrive in Afghanistan again.

“We don’t have to imagine what a failed state in Afghanistan could mean for America’s security; we already know,” Biden said. “Afghanistan must never again become a safe haven for al-Qaida. But just as important, if Afghanistan fails, Pakistan could follow, because extremists will set their sights on a bigger prize to the east, not the west.”

Biden went on to describe the mission in Afghanistan as one that could only be achieved “one battle, one stretch of road, one clinic, one town council meeting at a time.”

Nevertheless, Biden argued Monday that the ongoing crisis at the Kabul airport is in fact the fault of former President Donald Trump, who set the U.S. withdrawal into motion in February 2020. Biden chose to move forward with the withdrawal, however, only pushing back Trump’s initial withdrawal date of May 1, 2021, to September 11.

Biden stated that that time frame would allow for a safe and orderly withdrawal of U.S. troops, citizens and Afghan allies. The administration reportedly ignored warnings that the Afghan government could collapse far more quickly than Biden’s public predictions.