NBC’s Engel Warns of ‘Very Dark Period’ for U.S. as Taliban Dictates Withdrawal


Appearing on MSNBC’s MTP Daily Tuesday afternoon, NBC chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel predicted that history would look back on President Biden’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan as “a very dark period for the United States,” especially after news broke that the administration would allow the Taliban to dictate the time line.  

“What are you seeing in Kabul since you’ve gotten back and is this trade off we’ve made with the Taliban, essentially providing safe passage for Americans, have we traded away the possibility of getting Afghans who helped us out by garnering the support of the Taliban to help get Americans out?,” host Chuck Todd wondered. Engel replied: “Well, a lot of this depends on the will of the Taliban and do you believe the Taliban have changed?”

 

 

Moments later, the reporter analyzed the White House decision to stick to the August 31 deadline of completing the Afghanistan withdrawal, which is widely considered to be unrealistic:

So on a tactical standpoint, sticking to the August 31st deadline makes a lot of sense here in Kabul because if you lose the Taliban’s cooperation, the Taliban could not necessarily, although it’s possible, to step up violence. But more likely just unleash people toward the airport, stop cooperating completely, overwhelm the Americans’ process, have that process break down.

However, he then took a broader view of the situation and its devastating implications:

But then, if you’d step back and you look at what is going on, this is the United States after 20 years. This war used to be called Operation Enduring Freedom and it’s turned out not to be enduring and they’re not leaving behind a society that is free, it is only free according to what the Taliban says it will be, and the Taliban promises that it will be free. So you could also look at this as a tremendously humiliating – moment of American humiliation, leaving, forced to leave on the Taliban’s clock and with the Taliban’s good graces. So tactically it makes sense but I’m not sure how history will – I think history will judge this moment as a very dark period for the United States.

So far, many in the liberal media are not interested in even trying to spin for the debacle that Biden has created and its long-term damage.

Here is a transcript of the August 24 exchange:

1:09 PM ET

(…)

CHUCK TODD: What are you seeing in Kabul since you’ve gotten back and is this trade off we’ve made with the Taliban, essentially providing safe passage for Americans, have we traded away the possibility of getting Afghans who helped us out by garnering the support of the Taliban to help get Americans out?

RICHARD ENGEL: Well, a lot of this depends on the will of the Taliban and do you believe the Taliban have changed? The Taliban are now on their best behavior. They are saying that they will support an inclusive society. Police are back on the streets here. They’re leaving the old Afghan flag in place. They have not gone in and looted or ransacked the U.S. embassy. They are talking about building an inclusive society. They say they need the engineers, they need the doctors, they’re calling on Afghans to stay. They say that the previous president, Ashraf Ghani, who left in – fled the country, that that caused panic and that caused a rush on the airport and they’re trying to stop that wound, that outward flow from this country.

So if you believe the Taliban, and the Taliban are telling their people that they have reassurances, they’re saying, “We want the Americans to leave but this does not mean that others can’t leave,” that the commercial airport will one day open. They want the Americans out and they are doing what they can to make sure that the Americans do leave, and that goes down to coordinating on a tactical level, operating security check points right next to the Americans.

So on a tactical standpoint, sticking to the August 31st deadline makes a lot of sense here in Kabul because if you lose the Taliban’s cooperation, the Taliban could not necessarily, although it’s possible, to step up violence. But more likely just unleash people toward the airport, stop cooperating completely, overwhelm the Americans’ process, have that process break down.

But then, if you’d step back and you look at what is going on, this is the United States after 20 years. This war used to be called Operation Enduring Freedom and it’s turned out not to be enduring and they’re not leaving behind a society that is free, it is only free according to what the Taliban says it will be, and the Taliban promises that it will be free. So you could also look at this as a tremendously humiliating – moment of American humiliation, leaving, forced to leave on the Taliban’s clock and with the Taliban’s good graces. So tactically it makes sense but I’m not sure how history will – I think history will judge this moment as a very dark period for the United States.

(…)



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