Taliban security services at Kabul Airport: great success or epic failure?

Crowds in front of Kabul Airport.
Taken by: VOA

Was it wise for America to rely on the Taliban  to provide  security services at Kabul Airport as Afghans rushed the gates desperate to escape Taliban rule? With the withdrawal of American soldiers the Afghan government fell in just eleven days.  The government collapse left the Taliban in control of the country, the people fled, causing unrest and chaos outside of the airport. In Kabul the American soldiers who tried to evacuate as many people as possible were the last line of defense between the people and the Taliban. 

Could the Commander in Chief, President Biden, have done anything more to protect the people of Afghanistan prior to the American withdrawal?  Could the United States military have maintained a presence in Afghanistan, securing the airports and providing a more safe evacuation plan for Americans, Afghan translators, and those who fought alongside the Americans?  According to United States Secretary of Defense, Anthony Blinken, starting in March, nineteen messages had been sent to people registered with the United States Embassy regarding evacuation. 

The process to move out as many people from Afghanistan was greatly flawed throughout its short time period. Anarchy and chaos broke out as soon as the Taliban took control of Kabul, causing the people to leap into a frenzy attempting to escape Afghanistan. Americans, Afghan translators and Afghan allies should have been a top priority for evacuation in the first place. Instead it’s as if the “decision makers” forgot they existed entirely and turned the other way without extensive action, until it became an issue.   

Was there a discussion among United States military leaders, the Commander in Chief, and his Administration? Understandably, the translators deserve to be evacuated out of Afghanistan for working alongside the Americans for such a long period of time. Former Afghan government workers and Afghan soldiers should have the right to stay and fight for their homeland against the Taliban. Were they offered an organized option to leave Afghanistan with their families and to be given the opportunity to start a new life in America? 

As American troops began to leave the region and pull resources from the area, thousands of Afghan people swarmed the walls of Kabul Airport begging to be let in to escape the Taliban.  The scene of Afghan citizens climbing onto airplanes begging to be flown to freedom is chilling.   With the withdrawal of the American military the security services at Kabul Airport were trusted to the Taliban.  This terrorist organization signed a deal with United States officials to provide Americans and Afghans with passports and the proper paperwork to leave Afghanistan after the American soldiers left, by the August 31, 2021 deadline date.

Recent reports revealed the Taliban had been beating people and threatening them for trying to leave. This deal between America and the Taliban should not have been trusted.

Not to mention, Isis-K, a smaller, more violent Islamic fundamentalist group formed in 2015, has been reportedly operating in the same area as the Taliban. This could possibly lead to Afghan citizens being caught in the crossfire of two groups that have different agendas.  One group being entrusted as “security” for the Afghan people at Kabul Airport and the other wanting to completely kill off anyone who disagrees with their religious beliefs. 

After American soldiers withdrew, then re-deployed, Isis-K sent a sucide bomber to one of the airport gates killing sixty Afghan civilians and thirteen US soldiers. This shows how ruthless these terrorist groups are and leaving Americans and the Afghan people to be slaughtered by them is unjust. There needed to be a much better plan for evacuation.  “No man left behind” is the motto of the United States Armed forces.  It is unacceptable that the government didn’t plan to get every American out of Afghanistan.  There seemed to be almost no initial effort in trying to get anyone out including Americans. 

The United States withdrawal was rushed, turning Kabul Airport into chaos.  Would it have mattered if the United States took a little more time to provide increased security for evacuees?  The United States military forces were there for twenty years.  Could one of the reasons for the sudden withdrawal have been that the United States wanted to avoid any military engagement that may have preceded a well organized evacuation? This is possible, but the Americans’ quick abandonment of military weaponry left the Taliban well armed for post withdrawal aggression.

Perhaps the Afghan military needed to take more responsibility for security at Kabul Airport. Even though the Afghan president fled there was still a military chain of command, but the government fell in eleven days. Why did the Afghans not play a bigger part in the evacuation process? Some members of the Afghan military and government could have decided to work with the Taliban out of fear or corruption.

The security of Kabul Airport and the evacuation of Americans, Afghan translators and  Afghans who fought alongside Americans  is an example of a situation that could have been handled in a more organized and safe manner. United States Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, reports 130,000 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan.  The American withdrawal from Afghanistan after a twenty year war and the consequences of the withdrawal will be debated and discussed for many decades to come.