We have armed the Taliban to cause destruction in Afghanistan and elsewhere for generations


It was quite the handover at Kabul airport this week. The last American troops to exit Afghanistan reportedly left facing an ‘elite unit’ of the Taliban. In a season finale that the most dystopian screenwriter would have struggled to invent, the elite Taliban unit was itself bedecked in US military gear. That is, they were not only wearing uniforms and protective gear provided by the fleeing US army, but were parading the airport with US-provided guns in US-provided vehicles. This was the culmination of a two-week period that the White House is still trying to present as a success. One of the biggest airlifts in history, they insist. In reality the Biden administration has pulled off a feat few of us thought possible: A military-political defeat that gets worse the more you look at it. Take the issue of the gear that the Americans have left behind. I’m sure by now everyone has seen the lists of armaments that the US left with the swiftly dissolved Afghan army that America and its allies struggled to train for two decades. The Taliban inherited that defeated army’s equipment in its entirety.

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