To the editor:
Last month marked the one-year anniversary of America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. A year ago, President Joe Biden summed up his deadly shambolic operation “an extraordinary success.” And on the anniversary of our closing the curtain on “America’s longest war:” a speech about cops and taking on the NRA.
The assassination of Al Qaeda leader, Ayman Al-Zawahiri in the very capital that promised the President no heaven to terrorists was another “extraordinary success.” A year later, that capital is infested with emboldened international extremists, most troublingly the Haqqani network which is now deeply embedded within the Taliban government and hosted Al-Zawahiri himself.
In July, the President asserted at the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) about the future of the Middle East: “We will not walk away and leave a vacuum …. we will seek to build on this moment with active, principled, American leadership.” Tell that to Afghan women who by 2021 had achieved hard-won gains in higher education, economic opportunity and politics. Tell that to the Afghan LGBT community American leadership actively supported in 2021. And tell that to the tens of thousands of Afghan partners and SIV applicants, including some of our own engineer colleagues and family members, we abandoned in harm’s way and who remain in harm’s way. As of July, government records indicate that out of 66,000 Afghan applicants, just 297 humanitarian visa applicants have been approved, com- pared with 40,000 Ukrainian applicants approved over a shorter period.
The president did get one thing right, wrapping up his Al-Zawahiri success last month with, “This is the great and defining truth about our nation and our people: We do not break. We never give in.” You’re right, Mr. President, it wasn’t the American people who broke.
-Hasina Ibrahimkhil, Alexandria and Tom Bauhan, Winchester