The botched withdrawal from Afghanistan that has occurred on the watch of President Biden, leaving women and children vulnerable to the Taliban, should come as no surprise given a report from The Atlantic earlier this year about what Biden said in 2010 about leaving women and children behind in Afghanistan.
Biden responded “f*** that” to a question about American obligations to Afghans like a young girl attending school in Kabul.
In December 2001, after the United States ousted the Taliban from power in Afghanistan, President George W. Bush asked Biden, then a senator, to draft a proposal to win over young people in the Muslim world. Biden visited Kabul and met a young Afghan girl who told him, “You cannot leave. They will not deny me learning to read. I will read, and I will be a doctor like my mother. America must stay,” as The New Yorker reported in 2004. The New Yorker continued:
“I promise I’ll come back,” Biden told her. “You cannot leave,” the girl insisted. “They will not deny me learning to read. I will read, and I will be a doctor like my mother. I will. America must stay.” As Biden put it in a recent interview, the Afghan girl was telling him, “Don’t f*** with me, Jack. You got me in here. You said you were going to help me. You better not leave me now.”
The Atlantic reported:
By the time Biden became vice president in 2009, the disastrous war in Iraq, the endemic corruption of the Afghan government, and the return of the Taliban had made him a deep skeptic of the American commitment. He became the Obama administration’s strongest voice for getting out of Afghanistan.
In 2010, he told Richard Holbrooke, Obama’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, that the U.S. had to leave Afghanistan regardless of the consequences for women or anyone else. According to Holbrooke’s diary, when he asked about American obligations to Afghans like the girl in the Kabul school, Biden replied with a history lesson from the final U.S. withdrawal from Southeast Asia in 1973: “Fuck that, we don’t have to worry about that. We did it in Vietnam, Nixon and Kissinger got away with it.”
“Holbrooke was appointed as a special advisor on Pakistan and Afghanistan in 2009 and was one of the Obama administration’s principal advisors on US policy in the countries until his death in December of 2010,” The Daily Mail noted.
On Monday, Biden bragged “The buck stops with me” in his speech about the U.S. withdrawal while he blamed the Afghan military, boasting:
The truth is, this did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated. So what’s happened? Afghanistan political leaders gave up and fled the country. The Afghan military collapsed, sometimes without trying to fight. … I am president of the United States of America. And the buck stops with me.
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