There are serious questions about President Joe Biden’s ability to be commander in chief due to the Afghanistan debacle, former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker told The Spokesman-Review.
“I’m left with some grave questions in my mind about his ability to lead our nation as commander-in-chief,” said Crocker, who led the U.S. Embassy in Kabul from 2002 to 2003 during the Bush administration and then again from 2011 to 2012 under President Barack Obama. “To have read this so wrong — or even worse — to have understood what was likely to happen and not care.”
Crocker said he fears that the narrative that the Taliban defeated the world’s strongest military will embolden other Islamist terrorists around the world,” adding that the United States is “going to pay for that for a long time to come.”
Crocker said he also worries the Taliban could again harbor terrorist groups, while U.S. intelligence agencies will be less capable of tracking threats in the country after the withdrawal.
He stressed that the collapse of Afghan forces amid the U.S. troop withdrawal was the result of “a total lack of coordinated, post-withdrawal planning on our part,” adding “that’s why this is all so sad. It is a self-inflicted wound.”
The former ambassador said the “direction” of the Taliban’s military offensive was “predictable,” but the “trajectory was not.”
Crocker also had harsh criticism for the policy of the Trump administration, saying that by keeping the Afghan government out of the peace talks and at the same time agreeing to terms with the Taliban that included the release of up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners, the U.S. government “effectively sided with the Taliban” in the eyes of Afghan forces, which likely was one of the reasons for their deserting in large numbers.
“It is not exactly a climate in which these young troopers can be reasonably expected to hold that line, having been sold out by us,” he said.