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"It seems like now, like it was all in vain", Merkel on Afghanistan

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Afghan people wait to board a U S military aircraft to leave Afghanistan, at the military airport in Kabul on August 19, 2021 after Taliban's military takeover of Afghanistan. (Photo by Shakib RAHMANI / AFP)

The Taliban militants took over the Afghan capital Kabul on Sunday and declared that the war in Afghanistan is over. They entered the presidential palace after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country saying he wanted to prevent a "flood of bloodshed".

The fall of the capital came weeks after the militant group ramped up its fight against the government forces across the country, sweeping through the nation and seizing provincial capitals at a rapid pace.

In February, 2020, the Taliban has struck a deal with the administration of former US President, Donald Trump, which would have seen US troops withdraw by May 2021 in exchange for security guarantees.

After taking office, Biden said he would uphold the agreement but set a deadline for complete combat troop pullout from Afghanistan of September 11 this year.

Some US politicians have described the US withdrawal as hasty, expressing concern that the developments may well facilitate attacks against the interests of Washington and its allies.

My guess would be that the Taliban haven't been able to take over, are not going to want to do things that would bring the US and its NATO partners back in.

I think that much greater likelihood is that organizations similar to the Taliban will be given great impetus by this.

Richard Becker, ANSWER Coalition

Colossal failure of West

However, many observers are pointing to the colossal failure of the West in the 20 year long war in Afghanistan.

The international community has reacted to the Taliban takeover of the Afghan capital with some politicians, including those in the West, criticizing the outcome of their 20 year presence in Afghanistan.

It is now very clear that al Qaeda can no longer carry out attacks against the United States from Afghanistan as they, allegedly, did on September 11 2001. But everything that has followed has not been as successful and has not been achieved in the way we had planned.

Angela Merkel, German Chancellor

Merkel added that she shared the pain of the families of all troops who are killed in Afghanistan adding "It seems like now, like it was all in vain".

She noted that the rapid return of the Taliban to power was particularly dramatic and terrible.

Leader of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party Armin Laschet had earlier called the Afghanistan operation, the biggest debacle in NATO's history.

US President Joe Biden made a televised speech on Monday in which he addressed criticisms leveled against him for withdrawing US combat troops from Afghanistan.

I stand squarely behind my decision. After 20 years. I've learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw US forces.

US President, Joe Biden

The blame game continues

The US president blamed the Taliban takeover on Afghan political leaders who fled the country. While the army surrendered to the militant group without a fight.

And of course the credibility of the United States is threatened, I think, by the fact that this has been such a disastrous war and it has exposed the fact that the United States carries on wars like this, with no respect whatsoever for the people of Afghanistan.

Richard Becker, ANSWER Coalition

I think that, from Washington's point of view, the people of Afghanistan have been dispensable, and I think that more threatens your credibility in the eyes of people who are concerned about humanity [more] than anything else.

Richard Becker, ANSWER Coalition

The fact that the Taliban managed to capture Kabul while US combat troops were still present in the country, shows that all the lives lost, and all the funds spent during the 20 year war were in vain.


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