NEW YORK (VINnews) — The Biden administration allegedly refused an offer by the Taliban’s co-founder and head of its military wing to take control of Kabul prior to evacuating US forces from Afghanistan, according to a report by the Washington Post.
Senior US military officials including Gen. Kenneth McKenzie met face-to-face with Abdul Ghani Baradar, head of the Taliban’s military wing, who made the US a significant offer.
‘We have a problem,’ Baradar said, according to a US official. ‘We have two options to deal with it: You [the United States military] take responsibility for securing Kabul or you have to allow us to do it.’
However President Biden was determined to keep his promise of a full withdrawal, even if it caused the collapse of the Afghan government. So, McKenzie and other military officials said the US only needed control of the airport until Aug. 31 and the Taliban could secure the city, which it promptly did on August 15th, despite not having planned to take control immediately.
Prior to the collapse of the government and the escape of former premier Ghani, the Taliban was actually waiting for an interim government that would attempt to negotiate a new power sharing regime in the country, according to the Washington Post article, but the new situation prompted them to offer the US the chance to control Kabul until they withdrew.
If the Biden administration had taken control of the whole city, it could have evacuated thousands more Afghan allies and avoided Taliban roadblocks which prevented people from getting to the airport. Moreover the chaotic bedlam and lawlessness which ensued could have been prevented if the US and the Taliban had agreed to an orderly transfer of power, which the Taliban was willing to commit to.
‘The government has left all of their ministries; you have to enter the city to prevent further disorder and protect public property and services from chaos,’ read a message to Taliban commander Muhammad Nasir Haqqani.
‘We couldn’t control our emotions, we were so happy. Most of our fighters were crying,’ Haqqani said of when his soldiers overtook the streets. ‘We never thought we would take Kabul so quickly.’
Asked at a briefing Monday if it was true that the Taliban had offered US control of Kabul, White House press secretary Jen Psaki replied: ‘I have not seen this reporting.’ However Talking Points Memo editor Josh Marshall assumed the veracity of the Washington Post report and praised the US for not taking control of Kabul since “the idea that a few thousand US Marines or soldiers could take over security for a city of 5 million during a process of state collapse is frankly insane…if you think holding an airport in this situation is fraught, vulnerable and highly dangerous try taking over security for a city of 5 million under the same circumstances.” The article was liked by White House chief of staff Ron Klain which implies that the administration is not denying it was offered such a deal.
The US sent in roughly 5,000 troops to help Americans and American allies escape Taliban rule, before pulling out on Monday almost 24 hours ahead of the deadline, worried of the prospects of yet another terrorist attack. During the evacuation some 116,000 Afghans and 5,500 American citizens were brought out of the country
Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar was freed from jail in Pakistan three years ago at the request of the U.S. government. Just twelve months ago, he posed for pictures with Donald Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to sign a peace deal in Doha which would have led to a power-sharing solution in Afghanistan. Now he is tipped to become the next leader of the war-torn country.
The 53-year-old was deputy leader under ex-chief Mullah Mohammed Omar, whose support for Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden led to the US-led invasion of Afghanistan after 9/11.
Born in Uruzgan province in 1968, Baradar was raised in Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban movement. He fought with the mujahideen against the Soviets in the 1980s until they were driven out in 1989.
Afterwards, Afghanistan was gripped by a blood civil war between rival warlords and Baradar set up an Islamic school in Kandahar with his former commander Mohammed Omar. The two mullahs helped to found the Taliban movement, an ideology which embraced hardline orthodoxy and strived for the creation of an Islamic Emirate. The movement seized power in the country in 1996 but were ousted by the US in 2001.
Baradar went into hiding but in 2010, the CIA tracked him to the Pakistani city of Karachi and in February of that year the Pakistani intelligence service (ISI) arrested him. In 2018 however Baradar was released at the request of the Trump administration as part of their ongoing negotiations with the Taliban in Qatar, on the understanding that he could help broker peace.
In February 2020, Baradar signed the Doha Agreement in which the U.S. pledged to leave Afghanistan on the basis that the Taliban would enter into a power-sharing arrangement with President Ashraf Ghani’s government in Kabul.
He was pictured in September 2020 with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who ‘urged the Taliban to seize this opportunity to forge a political settlement and reach a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire,’ the US said in a statement.
Pompeo ‘welcomed Afghan leadership and ownership of the effort to end 40 years of war and ensure that Afghanistan is not a threat to the United States or its allies.’
The Doha deal was heralded as a momentous peace declaration but has been proved to be nothing but a ploy by the Taliban, who waited patiently until thousands of American troops had left before launching a major offensive to recapture the country, undoing two decades of work by the US-led coalition.