New reporting indicates that Joe Biden is scrambling to attempt to mitigate the disaster he created in Afghanistan. The Associated Press has indicated that Biden is sending Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley into meetings to salvage the positions and material lost during the chaotic withdrawal of U.S. military forces from the war-ravaged country controlled again by the Taliban.
Milley plans to meet with NATO allies in Greece this weekend to enter into agreements for more on-ground basing and intelligence sharing to work together against possible reorganization by terror groups.
The agreements that the White House now finds urgent would provide capabilities the U.S. had and could have preserved indefinitely. Of course, that was before Biden decided to move forward with a no-plan withdrawal after scrapping the plan left for him by President Trump.
Maintaining even a skeleton crew at Bagram would have given the U.S. the capability to maintain reliable and real-time intelligence gathering actions on the ground. It would have also helped avoid being reliant on over-the-horizon drone strikes to handle emergencies. We have already seen how unreliable that strategy can be due to the accidental strike against an Afghan aid worker and several of his children mistaken for an ISIS-K operative.
Instead, we are now left to bargain with countries that undoubtedly have lost significant trust in America’s commitment to maintaining positions gained through great sacrifice and hard work.
The difficulty with over-the-horizon security is that even if it works as promised, it requires surveillance operations conducted from distant Persian Gulf bases that only allow limited operational time over Afghanistan.
If left with working on agreements for staging intelligence-gathering closer to the ground in Afghanistan, the U.S. is looking at some inferior options. Iran, Pakistan, or any of the former member states of the U.S.S.R. that are under the control of Russia and Vladimir Putin are unlikely prospects, indeed.
America may have to get used to doing as best as possible with what Joe Biden leaves for us.