The Moral Failures of Afghanistan

Written By Daniel Bordman, Posted on August 18, 2021

Afghanistan has fallen into the hands of terrorists in the Taliban, and the two desperate Afghanis falling to their deaths from an American plane leaving Kabul will likely be the lasting image of the Afghan war. So how did things go so wrong?

There are many people to blame, President Biden chief among them for overseeing this disaster, but this mentality did not start with him.  Both Obama and Trump tried to score cheap political points by declaring victory so they can say they “ended a war” only to have it lead to chaos and force Western forces to re-engage in a worse scenario. Joe Biden saw this happen first hand as Obama’s VP in Iraq and criticized Trump for his Syria withdrawal so he has no excuse for his actions.

Joe Biden knew that his withdrawal would result in chaos, but chose to do it anyway.  Any attempt to blame Trump’s peace talks with the Taliban (which were ridiculous and I criticized at the time) should fall on deaf ears. The Biden administration was happy to walk back all the good foreign policy from the Trump administration like the Abrahamic Accords and the countering of Iran’s terrorist funding in the region. Yet the willing walked into the disaster.

For all the talk of sanity and morality returning to the White House, there is probably no greater display of political cowardice than Joe Biden hiding out at Camp David, coming back for 20 minutes to stumble off a teleprompter, take no questions, and then return to hiding. By his own admission, he did not take any calls from world leaders on Afghanistan; which is absolutely shameful.

(Photo from CNN)

(Photo from CNN)

If Trump did that, pundits across the world would be screaming, and rightfully so, about how their countries sent soldiers to help out with this American mission and the president of the US didn’t have the decency to keep them in the loop on the withdrawal.

By far the worst thing about this is the total betrayal of the Afghans who risked their lives to help us.  A telegraphed and pre-planned withdrawal is an insane military strategy as it let the Taliban prepare for this day for months, but we all had the time to get every single translator, contractor, and their families out of the country.  They earned their citizenship, and we abandoned them to the Taliban dead squads.

Looking back at the Afghan War it can be seen as nothing but a terrible defeat for the West.  Yes, we did kill Osama Bin Laden (in Pakistan), but we did not defeat the ideology of Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Maybe the defeat was inevitable when we launched the “War on Terror” instead of the “Hard, but much needed discussion on radical Islam”. Creating a world where there is no terrorism is impossible, but one where we recognize the distinct evils of groups like the Taliban, Al Shabab, Boko Haram, Hamas, ISIS, and other Islamist terrorists and how a Muslim population would rather cling to the outside of an airplane than live under them.


Instead, we must move forward in a world where the enemies of civilization like the CCP and the Islamic Republic of Iran no longer fear Western forces and feel emboldened to expand their influence. The Americans had not suffered a combat death in Afghanistan in over a year, yet lazy slogan-based policy won out over human rights.

The only question now is just how much damage will this catastrophe bring?  

China has already felt emboldened enough to use this withdrawal to threaten Taiwan. Despite their million-plus concentration camps filled with Muslims, the Taliban is happy to welcome them in to help expand their global belt infrastructure project and give the CCP access to their rare earth materials.


How many girls will be maimed and murdered for trying to go to school? How many free thinkers will be crushed by the Taliban’s Sharia courts? How many “collaborators” will lose their heads in the coming months.  The incoming horrors to the Afghan people can not be understated.

An offshoot problem that can not be measured is the next time US or NATO forces need help on the ground, would you gamble your family’s life on an American promise of security?

Finally, the big problem that we all will have to deal with as the Taliban seize control of the country is the fact that they now control a large portion of the world’s opium supply and Islamists terrorist groups, especially Iran-backed Hezbollah, are already proficient at narco-terrorism. Expect this problem to get a lot worse in the coming years as we are already dealing with an opioid epidemic here in the West. Add a global terrorist network to the problem and it doesn’t get better.

In the coming years, the post-mortem on Afghanistan will be an interesting one to go over. Was the West defeated by the forces of radical Islam, or were we brought down by our own failings? Was it guns and militants who beat us? Personally, I think it was the combined forces of apathy, incompetence, and the rise of moral relativism that brought down the world’s greatest fighting force in a way no other military could. 

Daniel Bordman

Daniel is the host of political satire show Uninterrupted, runs multiple podcasts and has written for a variety of publications. Daniel is also the communications coordinator of the Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation. You can find him on Twitter here. Uninterrupted on YouTube

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