Afghan debacle is Bay of Pigs moment for Biden: Panetta

Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in contrast the reconquest of Afghanistan by the Taliban to the abortive CIA-backed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba from the early Nineteen Sixties Monday, including that the collapse of the Western-backed authorities in Kabul had harmed America’s credibility.

“This is a situation that deteriorated rapidly, beyond anyone’s imagination,” Panetta, a former CIA director below Barack Obama and a former White House chief of workers to Bill Clinton, advised CNN. “No one expected what happened. No one expected the Taliban to move as quickly as they did. They obviously had a strategy to do this … and we were not aware of just how rapidly that would happen.”

The Taliban entered the Afghan capital Sunday, resulting in scenes of chaos on the metropolis’s international airport as these determined to flee the return of the Islamic fundamentalist regime flooded the tarmac in hopes of making their approach onto a flight out. Some of them clung to the surface of departing US army planes, falling to their deaths because the plane climbed within the sky.

Cuba's leader Fidel Castro speaks with prisoners from the Bay of Pigs invasion at the sports stadium in Havana, Cuba
Fidel Castro speaks with prisoners from the Bay of Pigs invasion on the sports activities stadium in Havana, Cuba, April 18, 1961.
AP Photo/Miguel Vinas, Prensa Latina, File

As just lately as final week, US intelligence officers have been leaking to the media that the collapse of the federal government led by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani might come inside 60 or 90 days. In truth, the 4 largest cities within the nation fell to the Taliban over a 96-hour interval, finishing a cataclysmic collapse just a little greater than two weeks earlier than the official deadline for US fight forces to go away the nation.

On Monday, Panetta admitted that when it got here to the precarious nature of Afghan safety forces and the power of the Taliban offensive, the American intelligence neighborhood “missed it.”

“They missed what was going on. They missed the fact that the Taliban obviously were preparing for this strategy. Once the United States pulled their forces out, they knew they could take advantage of it, and I think the intelligence community understood that, but they did not understand how prepared the Taliban was to conduct the kind of campaign they did over these last few days,” he added. “They captured 12 provincial capitals within a matter of a few days. That’s incredible.”

In remarks from the East Room of the White House Monday afternoon, Biden cast most of the blame for the autumn of Afghanistan on his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, and Afghan army and political leaders. The president additionally acknowledged the collapse had occurred “more quickly than we had anticipated” and riffed on the catchphrase of one other Democratic president, Harry Truman, by saying: “I am President of the United States of America, and the buck stops with me.”

“In many ways, I think of John Kennedy and the Bay of Pigs, you know?” stated Panetta, who was interviewed hours earlier than Biden’s assertion. “It unfolded quickly and the president thought that everything would be fine and that was not the case. But President Kennedy took responsibility for what took place, and I strongly recommend to President Biden that he take responsibility [and] admit the mistakes that were made.”

“He’s got to make clear to the American people that as commander in chief, he is going to continue to protect our national security and that we are going to go after terrorists wherever the hell they are at,” Panetta went on. “He’s just got to ensure that the United States of America remains a strong world leader that can work with our allies to try to protect peace and prosperity. That’s the message he’s got to give the American people and the world, because our credibility right now is in question.”

Taliban fighters stand guard in a vehicle along the roadside in Kabul on August 16, 2021
Taliban fighters stand guard in a car alongside the roadside in Kabul on August 16, 2021.
AFP by way of Getty Images

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