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SPIGOLON: Yes, it was bad, but …
Smoke rises after fighting between the Taliban and Afghan security personnel in the city of Kandahar, southwest of Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug. 12. - photo by The Associated Press

This is an opinion.

Was the withdrawal from Afghanistan painful to watch? Yes, of course.

Was it worth the billions we spent on firepower and supplies over 20 years to simply be allowed to fall into Taliban hands? Absolutely not.

Was this a disaster of President Joe Biden’s making, stemming from his weakness as a leader? Republicans, led by our own congressman Jody Hice, would, of course, say yes as they sense an opening to regain a majority in both houses of Congress in 2022.

Of course, the congressman is expected to parrot complaints from former president Donald Trump and other Trump supporters in Congress.

I think our military leadership knew it’d be tough for the Afghan military to hold off the Taliban, despite the extensive training we gave them. Did we know they would fold like a deck of cards? I don’t think so.

In fact, Trump already has begun issuing statements about how things would have gone much differently had he been reelected.

Really, Mr. Trump?

Biden was the fourth president dealing with this morass that was, essentially, a continuation of something Russia’s predecessor, the USSR, was unable to solve.

Then-president George W. Bush placed troops in Afghanistan soon after 9-11. His successor, Barack Obama, with Biden as Vice President, continued the war. Trump followed but with the pledge to remove our troops from Afghanistan.

Slate reported that Trump issued a statement on Thursday that stated “the world would find that our withdrawal from Afghanistan would be a conditions-based withdrawal. I personally had discussions with top Taliban leaders whereby they understood what they are doing now would not have been acceptable. It would have been a much different and much more successful withdrawal, and the Taliban understood that much better than anyone.”

But Trump’s emissaries signed an “accord” with the Taliban in February 2020 that imposed only a few conditions — and the Taliban are violating none of them at the moment, Slate reported. 

The Taliban merely agreed not to allow any “individuals or groups, including al-Qaida, to use the soil of Afghanistan to threaten the security of the United States and its allies.” The accord did not bar the Taliban from fighting Afghan government troops or from capturing Afghan provinces on its own, Slate reported.

In addition Trump’s claim that he had “discussions with top Taliban leaders” is overstated, Slate reported. Through an interpreter, he had a discussion with a Taliban leader with whom Trump said he had a “very good” relationship” and lauded the Taliban for “killing terrorists…some very bad people.” 

“They’re looking to get this ended and we’re looking to get this ended,” Trump reportedly said. 

Should Biden’s withdrawal have been as swift and complete as it was? No.

But who’s to say it would have gone differently or, in Trump’s words, “much more successful” under him?

A statement released by the White House said that Trump “emphasized the need to continue the reduction in violence” and “urged the Taliban to participate in intra-Afghan negotiations.” 

No Americans have been killed there since February 2020. The situation probably would not have improved if we had left troops and millions more in supplies and funding for the military suppliers who were there.

The next president — or presidents — would have inherited the same problem and, likely, the same end result from a country whose military we trained and supplied but did not feel the need to resist.

Biden’s response was not good, but Trump needs to back off from throwing stones at a glass house he helped build. 

Tom Spigolon is news editor of The Covington News. He may be reached at