“The Afghan people did not choose the Taliban” – .

“The Afghan people did not choose the Taliban” – .

As the Biden administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan continues its seemingly irremediable descent into chaos, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice wrote an op-ed lamenting that “it didn’t have to happen that way.”
Write in the Washington PostRice – who served as a national security adviser before taking over the State Department for George W Bush’s second term – specifically objects to one of the main claims made by Joe Biden and his administration these days. last days: that the extremely rapid takeover of the Taliban is ultimately a failure of Afghan forces, not of American power.

“A corrosive and deeply unfair narrative is emerging: blaming the Afghans for how it all ended. Afghan security forces have failed. The Afghan government has failed. The Afghan people have failed. “We gave them every chance to determine their own future,” President Biden said in his speech on Monday – as if the Afghans had somehow chosen the Taliban.

Twenty years were not enough to move from Taliban rule in the 7th century and a 30-year civil war to a stable government

Condoleezza Rice, former US Secretary of State under George W Bush

“No”, she writes, “they did not choose the Taliban”.

Beyond making people understand the scale of the challenges to which the Afghan people have been called upon to take up, Ms. Rice stresses that the idea that the war has dragged on too long misses its point.

“Twenty years were not enough to go from the reign of the Taliban in the 7th century and from a 30-year civil war to a stable government,” she said. “Twenty years have perhaps not been enough to consolidate our gains against terrorism and ensure our own security. We – and they – needed more time.

This goes directly against a central point of Mr. Biden’s much-criticized withdrawal speech just days ago. “Our mission in Afghanistan was never meant to be about nation building,” he said. “It was never meant to create a unified, centralized democracy. Our only vital national interests in Afghanistan today remain what they always have been: to prevent a terrorist attack on the American homeland. “

As the person literally present in the room when the decisions regarding the initial invasion were made, and as the United States’ top diplomat during the second half of the Bush presidency, Rice is in a good position to speak on what had to carry the mission to the origin, whether or not its reader considers the premise valid or acceptable.

Condoleezza Rice was America’s top diplomat during the second half of George W Bush’s presidency

(DDP / AFP via Getty Images)

In her editorial, she also speaks strategically. “More time would have served our strategic interests,” she wrote.

“We didn’t want to give ourselves or the Afghans more time. Including. But we were in such a hurry that we left in the middle of the fighting season. We know the Taliban retreat in the winter. Could we have waited until then and given the Afghans a little more time to develop a strategy to prevent the chaotic fall of Kabul?

“Now we have to live with the consequences of our rush. “

Ms Rice is one of the less outspoken alumni of the Bush administration, but it is far from the first time she has spoken out about the Afghan conflict since leaving public office in 2009 During the Trump administration, Rice has repeatedly spoken unfairly about the need for a deal in Afghanistan that would stabilize the country without involving a hasty American exit, regardless of the strong domestic political pressure. to end the war.

In an interview with CBS’s Stephen Colbert in September 2019, she pointed out that the United States has kept peace in Korea for about six decades – and made her feelings clear about negotiating with the Taliban.

“I wouldn’t trust them. Ronald Reagan had a phrase, “trust but verify”. So you can negotiate a deal, but we have to leave forces there long enough to make sure the Afghan army is able to defend itself.


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