Joe Biden and swamp creatures at the Pentagon have described the chaotic and bloody evacuation from Afghanistan as an “extraordinary success.” But a U.S. marine has released GoPro footage showing what it was like from the perspective of those with boots on the ground, and it isn’t pretty.
The eight-minute video montage was shared on Instagram by Corporal Mike Markland, who described it as a look at “two straight weeks of worsening conditions” at the airport in Kabul, according to Task & Purpose.
In his initial post, Markland said what he experienced defied description and that he was proud of his fellow Marines for completing the mission in extremely trying conditions, but hoped his video would provoke questions about the evacuation.
The higher-ups intervene
The powers that be evidently did not appreciate his efforts. The Pentagon has shared more than 1,000 photos and videos through official channels that portray the evacuation as smooth and orderly.
Markland’s video — since deleted after leadership caught wind — shows troops destroying abandoned vehicles in one scene and in another, struggling to beat back crowds of desperate Afghans with tear gas. An Afghan is seen crying out in pain as he is pushed into concertina wire, Task & Purpose reports.
In another clip, an Afghan with an AK-47 beats a man senseless with the stock of his gun. Another shows Marines racing to aid a wounded man on the ground. The footage also shows Marines goofing off in spare time and squalid conditions inside the airport’s bathrooms.
Markland said he was “forced” to remove the video by “important people,” but it was archived beforehand.
Pentagon refuses responsibility
The videos are a world apart from the impression given by President Biden and Pentagon leaders of the final days of a war that Americans had been told for two decades was being won. U.S. leaders maintained that illusion until the 20-year occupation finally ended in catastrophic failure with the Taliban back in charge and what reports say is billions of dollars in U.S. equipment to boot.
Weeks before Kabul fell, Gen. Mark Milley insisted that a Taliban coup was “not a foregone conclusion,” even as he joined Biden in privately urging Afghanistan’s disgraced ex-president to create a “perception” of success counteracting a “narrative of Taliban victory.”
After Kabul fell, the world watched in horror as desperate Afghans were filmed falling from the sky to their deaths and 13 American soldiers were killed in a terrorist attack at the airport. Those demanding accountability from the Pentagon, such as a Marine officer relieved of his command, have faced retaliation.
As the last, exhausted troops left Afghanistan last Monday from an airfield littered with the husks of destroyed aircraft, they cheered as the Taliban waved goodbye, Newsweek reports.