Was Biden weak or is he doing a Ramaphosa and playing the long ...


Was Biden weak or is he doing a Ramaphosa and playing the long game?

The US leader is accused of bungling his country’s Afghan withdrawal, but he may have bigger fish in mind


Last Thursday, while driving in the English countryside, various authoritative voices on BBC Radio Four provided a counterpoint to the heavy traffic.

The topic was, of course, Afghanistan, and the experts speculated that the capital city, Kabul, was in danger of encirclement at some future point, “perhaps even on the anniversary of 9/11”, in view of the surging success of Taliban insurgents. That the heavily equipped and expensively trained Afghan army had folded without a fight across a belt of provincial cities suggested an endpoint would be reached in the next month or so. “But of course, Kabul is different from the rest of Afghanistan — it is hugely fortified, has limited access roads and the Taliban lacks any air power, which government forces have in spades,” offered an expert speaking from the capital city.

By Sunday morning, decamped in rural and peaceful Suffolk, the encirclement predicted for several weeks hence was now the reality on the ground in Kabul. But the experts, again, spoke of transitional arrangements, negotiated ceasefires and even a transitional government of national unity...

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