Although President Joe Biden has attempted to describe a chaotic evacuation effort in Afghanistan as a resounding success, a new report reveals how tenuous the mission truly was.
After U.S. troops spent nearly two decades attempting to defeat the Taliban in the region, U.S. officials were reportedly forced to rely on the militant group for help in securing safe passage for Americans hoping to flee the war-torn nation.
Over the course of a roughly two-week evacuation, Biden frequently cited cooperation by the Taliban as an essential element of the mission. The most recent details signal just how dependent the effort was on goodwill by Taliban fighters.
After America abandoned Bagram Airfield, its primary airbase in Afghanistan, U.S. officials sought a secret arrangement with the Taliban to safely escort American citizens to and through the crowded international airport in Kabul.
Taliban fighters reportedly checked the documents of those arriving at predetermined locations and guided them to a “secret gate” guarded by U.S. special operations forces who helped facilitate the operation.
One Pentagon official said the partnership “worked beautifully” in achieving the desired results.
Some aspects of the deal have since been harshly criticized, however, including reports that the Biden administration handed over a list of U.S. citizens and allies to the Taliban.
Additionally, the Pentagon reportedly knew of a terrorist threat near the Kabul airport ahead of Thursday’s bombing that killed 13 American service members but failed to act in time to save the lives of troops in harm’s way.
Following the U.S. troop drawdown, the Taliban has taken control of Afghanistan and currently possesses a wide array of American military weapons and equipment.
A triumphant Taliban parade featured fighters in U.S. helicopters and other vehicles even as Biden sought to paint the process in the best possible light.
He went so far as to call the airlift out of Kabul an “extraordinary success” and attempted to blame Americans left behind for not heeding multiple warnings to flee.
Despite Biden’s rosy rhetoric, however, the White House is said to be dangling the promise of foreign aid to pressure the Taliban into complying with Western demands, thus leaving no doubt about who is in charge of Afghanistan now.