‘This is a handover to the Taliban’: Former ambassador says Biden has abandoned Afghanistan

This follows news the Taliban have captured the strategic capital of Ghazni

Maroosha Muzaffar
Thursday 12 August 2021 12:59 BST
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Internally displaced Afghan families, who fled from Kunduz, Takhar and Baghlan province due to battles between Taliban and Afghan security forces, walk past their temporary tents at Sara-e-Shamali in Kabul on 11 August, 2021. - A former US ambassador to Afghanistan has said that Joe Biden is abandoning the country in its hour of need.
Internally displaced Afghan families, who fled from Kunduz, Takhar and Baghlan province due to battles between Taliban and Afghan security forces, walk past their temporary tents at Sara-e-Shamali in Kabul on 11 August, 2021. - A former US ambassador to Afghanistan has said that Joe Biden is abandoning the country in its hour of need. (AFP via Getty Images)
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A former US ambassador to Afghanistan has accused president Joe Biden of abandoning the country’s government in its hour of need.

Ryan Crocker, who was the US ambassador to Afghanistan during Barack Obama’s presidency said on Wednesday that withdrawing troops from the country at this hour is akin to “giving the country to Taliban fighters.”

In an interview with Bloomberg TV’s ‘Balance Of Power with David Westin’, the former ambassador said that “this is a handover to the Taliban.” He added that the Afghan government’s perception is that the US “hung them out to dry.”

Mr Crocker said: “We did a deal with their enemy.”

The Taliban have captured ten provincial capitals in less than a week, with the latest being the strategic capital of Ghazni in a rapid offensive over recent weeks. According to US intelligence, they could take over the capital Kabul within the next 90 days.

This has led to widespread criticism of the Biden administration that is withdrawing the remaining troops by the end of this month, just ahead of the 11 September anniversary.

Mr Crocker said: “It is ironic that as we approach the 20th anniversary of those attacks, we are handing the country over to those who sheltered the Al-Qaeda planners who put the whole thing together for 9/11.”

He said that “We are watching history repeat in a very bad way.”

Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary said on Wednesday that the US is “closely watching the deteriorating security conditions in parts of the country, but no particular outcome, in our view, is inevitable.” She also added that the Taliban has to “make an assessment of what they want their role to be in the international community.”

During the interview, Mr Crocker also criticised the president’s argument that the Taliban would need to form an inclusive government or lose international legitimacy. He said: “The Taliban was the one Islamic group that could force the United States to retreat. That is worth way more to them than any level of international legitimacy.”

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of ordinary Afghans have had to flee their homes amid the fighting between Taliban and Afghan security forces. Hundreds have been killed and injured in recent weeks.

The Afghan government has also offered the Taliban a power-sharing deal to end violence, AFP reported. Kabul has also demanded an “immediate halt to attacks on cities” in a new peace plan. A government source was quoted by AFP on Thursday as saying: “Yes, the government has submitted a proposal to Qatar as mediator. The proposal allows the Taliban to share power in return for a halt in violence in the country.”

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