OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author’s opinion
Former US President George W. Bush, who initially supported President Joe Biden over Donald Trump has become a critic of the 46th President following the Taliban’s sweep of Afghanistan over the past few weeks, culminating in the lightning takeover of Kabul.
Bush, who originally ordered the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan to oust the Taliban from power over its collaboration with Al-Qaeda’s Osama Bin Laden following the September 11 terrorist attacks expressed “deep sadness” over the tragedy currently unfolding in the region following Biden’s disastrous pullout of US military forces from the country.
An estimated 5,000 to 10,000 American civilians remain trapped in Afghanistan due to their inability to evacuate following the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul and other regional capitals.
On Tuesday, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby told CNN’s John Berman that there are approximately 5,000 to 10,000 Americans “near Kabul,” who remain unable to leave.
“We think there are certainly thousands of Americans. We don’t have an exact count. I would say somewhere best guess between 5 and 10,000 near Kabul,” Kirby said on New Day.
Kirby said that the State Department has sent a message “advising those Americans about how to queue up and get to the airport.”
“They can begin movement to the airport for processing flights out,” he said.
Speaking in a letter released late Monday, George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush said they “stand ready as Americans to lend our support and assistance” to those in need after the Taliban took over Kabul and usurped the government.
The Bushes wrote:
Laura and I have been watching the tragic events unfolding in Afghanistan with deep sadness. Our hearts are heavy for both the Afghan people who have suffered so much and for the Americans and NATO allies who have sacrificed so much.
The Afghans now at the greatest risk are the same ones who have been on the forefront of progress inside their nation. President Biden has promised to evacuate these Afghans, along with American citizens and our allies. The United States government has the legal authority to cut the red tape for refugees during urgent humanitarian crises. And we have the responsibility and the resources to secure safe passage for them now, without bureaucratic delay. Our most stalwart allies, along with private NGOs, are ready to help.
Laura and I are confident that the evacuation efforts will be effective because they are being carried out by the remarkable men and women of the United States Armed Forces, diplomatic corps, and intelligence community. And we want to speak to them directly, along with the veterans who have served in Afghanistan.
In the letter, the former president voiced confidence that the evacuation would be effective, due to the capabilities of the US military, diplomatic, and intelligence corps. But called on President Biden to cut the red tape as Afghans and remaining American’s face incredible danger at the hands of the Islamist extremists currently running the country.
“We have the responsibility and the resources to secure safe passage for them now, without bureaucratic delay,” he said.
The Bush administration, which initially started the war in Afghanistan, was harshly criticized for its messy pull out of Iraq, which left American weapons and vehicles to be seized by ISIS militants years later.
The Taliban’s swift takeover of Afghanistan included seizing numerous US weapon arsenals and vehicle depots, with billions of US military hardware, including surveillance drones, to fall in the hands of the insurgents.
Despite America’s defeat by the Taliban, Bush argued that the Afghan conflict had removed “a brutal enemy” referencing Al-Qaeda while building schools and providing medical care for Afghan civilians. He said that military presence in the region “kept America safe from further terror attacks, provided two decades of security and opportunity for millions, and made America proud.”
Article Source : Conservativebrief.com