4 reasons why Biden ‘failed’ in Afghanistan pullout: Ian Bremmer

·4 min read

The U.S. military evacuated more than 1,000 Americans from Afghanistan on Tuesday but thousands of Americans and tens of thousands of vulnerable Afghans remain in peril as the U.S. approaches its deadline for full military withdrawal at the end of the month, CNN reported.

While past presidents hold responsibility for the decades-long U.S. presence in Afghanistan, the current turmoil resulted from the Biden administration's immense failure to execute the U.S. exit, Eurasia Group founder and political scientist Ian Bremmer tells Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer in a new interview.

Biden botched the withdrawal in four key ways: military and intelligence, coordination, planning, and communication, Bremmer said.

"This is an extraordinary foreign policy crisis — by far the most important of the Biden administration, and largely self imposed," Bremmer says. "They have really, really failed here."

The Taliban took rapid control of the country in recent weeks, after the U.S. began formally withdrawing troops in May. As the Taliban entered the capital city of Kabul on Aug. 15, thousands of Afghans fled to the airport, causing at least five deaths and producing images of unrest and desperation that spread across the world.

The U.S. military restored order to the airport on Tuesday, and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the Taliban assured the U.S. that it would allow civilians safe passage to the airport, Reuters reported.

Speaking to Yahoo Finance, Bremmer said the first mistake made by the Biden administration sprung from its misunderstanding of how U.S.-trained Afghan military forces would fare in their fight against the Taliban.

"The United States has indeed spent almost $90 billion in training an Afghan force that refused to fight," Bremmer said. "The Biden administration somehow didn't understand the morale and the capabilities of those forces."

"That is just unconscionable for them to get it that wrong," he added.

For his part, President Joe Biden said on Monday that he stood "squarely behind my decision" to withdraw this summer. Biden vowed to evacuate Americans and offer refugee access for some vulnerable Afghans, acknowledging that the country had fallen under Taliban control more quickly than the administration expected.

The second key mishap committed by the Biden administration owes to a lack of coordination with U.S. allies, Bremmer said. "Biden is the guy that's supposed to be engaged with the allies," he said. "We've been fighting with these allies on the ground for 20 years. We asked NATO [to] come to our defense. And they did."

"When we decided that we were going to leave, that was a policy decision that we made by ourselves," he added. "Nobody else was involved."

President Joe Biden speaks about Afghanistan from the East Room of the White House, Monday, Aug. 16, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Joe Biden speaks about Afghanistan from the East Room of the White House, Monday, Aug. 16, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Bremmer, who founded the Eurasia Group in 1998, is the author of 10 books, including “Us vs Them: The Failure of Globalism." His forthcoming book is "The Crises We Need: How to Confront the Three Greatest Dangers of Our Time," which publishes in April.

Bremmer pointed to a lack of planning as the third reason why U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan went poorly, noting a failure to prepare for worst-case outcomes.

"Even if the intelligence is wrong, you plan for bad scenarios," Bremmer said. "What if things don't go the way you hope they're going to?"

"We clearly did not have the plans in place for the evacuation...not just our citizens, but all of the people that have been supporting the U.S. government on the ground in Afghanistan, many of which are now at risk and will die," he said. "They'll be killed by the Taliban.

In fact, Biden said on July 8 that the Afghan government would likely withstand the Taliban assault, and there would not be turbulent evacuations like those seen at the end of the Vietnam War. Bremmer said such miscommunication constitutes the final reason for the U.S. policy failure in Afghanistan.

"The fact that President Biden came out weeks ago, and actually said that it was highly unlikely for the Taliban to be overrunning everything and owning the whole country," said Bremmer. "These predictions literally unraveled in real time, and the Biden administration had nothing to say."

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