Expert: Taliban takeover inevitable, a multi-administration failure

Expert: Taliban takeover inevitable, a multi-administration failure

As the situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate, some experts say they saw this coming, that Kabul was always going to fall to the Taliban.

One of those people is a Notre Dame professor of International Dispute Resolution and a former military educator for the Department of Defense.

Despite the poorly planned exit, Mary Ellen O’Connell says this was a multi-administration failure three presidents in the making.

She says now, it’s time for the Afghanis to decide what they want their country to be and the United States’ role in the region to change.

But today, there was turmoil on the tarmac as the Taliban officially took over.

“The outcome was inevitable in my view from the time the United States first invaded,” O’Connell says.  

She adds leaving Afghanistan was always going to be an failure because the U.S. undermined international law. 

“This political ideology that ‘might makes right’ pushed its way forward,” O’Connell says. “It’s perfectly fine and very, very helpful for countries to give support, to improve human rights, to give systems of good governance, but trying to do those things introducing military force, that is what international law forbids and that is what has gone so wrong for the United States.”

The stunning photos show pure desperation, drawing comparisons to the fall of Saigon.

It was 20 years ago when we watched the desperate fall from the sky of the World Trade Center. Now, a similarly heart-wrenching scene plays out with the people who trusted us to help, as Afghanis fell from aircraft they were clinging to as it took-off.  

“People are afraid of the Taliban for good reason,” O’Connell says.  

But she says the problem is, not all Afghanis were on board with the U.S. Agenda, and some joined the Taliban, even as soon as the group entered Kabul.

“Why, Richard, didn’t those real forces fight to defend President Ghani?” O’Connell asked me during our interview. “Because they don’t believe in him,” She replied.

The Taliban reassumes control over a region it once held in the late-1990’s, but questions surround what this means for Afghanis who lived through U.S. occupation. It also sparks a fear of increased terrorism abroad as a foothold is fortified.

In the past, the Taliban has sheltered Al-Queda, the extremist-group responsible for the attacks on September 11, 2001. 

“The best-case scenario is the Taliban actually makes good on their promises not to clamp down again [and] actually try to create an Afghanistan for all Afghanis, not just those who are committed to the Taliban-cause,” O’Connell explains. “The United States, and every country in the world, needs to step up and hold them to that promise.”

In the meantime, a nation descends into chaos as the restructuring begins.

President Biden addressed Americans Monday afternoon and admitted the fall of Kabul happened faster than anticipated. He blamed Afghanistan’s political leaders for fleeing and not standing up to the Taliban.

In the days and weeks that follow, it remains to be seen what will become of the Afghani-government, how the world will respond and if nations will legitimize Taliban-rule in the country.

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