Joe Biden’s Afghanistan policy counts on issue fading in importance to war-weary Americans

WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden is dismissing criticism of his administration’s chaotic return to Afghanistan because he and his aides believe the political fallout at home will be limited, according to White House aides and administration officials.
Biden and his top aides argue that they are managing an evacuation mission that can be expected from 2021-08-19, as well as given the increasingly anticipated takeover of the country by the Taliban, and the withdrawal of US troops from the country. Trying to draw attention to the exit option.
The strategy is based on internal and public polling that showed the withdrawal of Afghanistan was Biden’s most popular decision to date, even though the issue was not central to most voters.
“Public opinion is very clear that Americans wanted to get out of the ongoing war and not come back. It’s true today and it’s going to be true in six months,” said a Biden aide. “It’s not about not caring or being sympathetic about what’s happening there, but about not worrying about what’s happening in America.”
Biden has also faced criticism from some fellow Democrats for his handling of the crisis.
But White House officials believe graphic images show Americans panic over-19 chaos in Kabul and pleas of Afghans, who fear they will be killed by the Taliban, to withdraw troops from the country by August 31, after 20 years of war. in support of the President’s decision to withdraw
They expect the Afghanistan story to move away from the spotlight, instead of a resurgence in COVID-19 cases, economic recovery and other issues, people familiar with the matter said.
A White House spokesman declined to comment.
Biden’s aides respected the talking points used even in the worst-case scenario of a return, some of which have been passed, including insisting that leaving Afghanistan was the right decision.
“The idea that there is, somehow, a way out without the chaos, I don’t know how that goes,” Biden told ABC News on Wednesday. “There is no good time to leave Afghanistan. Fifteen years ago would have been a problem, 15 years from now. The basic choice is, am I going to send your sons and your daughters to war in Afghanistan forever?”
In recent days, Biden has also attacked the Afghan military for refusing to fight, denouncing the now ousted Afghan government and declaring that he had inherited a poor withdrawal agreement from his Republican predecessor, Donald Trump.
Political experts say the strategy has clear risks. “The concern is that this is going to undermine his credibility as commander in chief,” said Jim Manley, once a top aide to former Democratic Senate majority leader Harry Reid. “If the Taliban goes back to what they did in the past, and I think that’s going to happen, there’s going to be a lot of bad images coming from that country.”
inadequate response
The Afghanistan message is growing rapidly, with an emerging consensus within the administration that the White House, Defense and State Departments as well as the US intelligence community’s plans for the current situation were inadequate and that the mission to evacuate key people was not entirely followed. needs to be reviewed. Afghanistan has been completed and 5,200 US troops are now moved to Kabul.
“We are at the Pentagon and even we know it could have been better,” one official said. “far superior.” Members of the US Congress are also planning to investigate what went wrong.
Public opinion, at least for now, is mixed. The majority of both Republican and Democratic voters say The swift surrender of the Afghan government is “evidence of why the US must pull out of the conflict.”
A Reuters/Ipsos poll this week found that 31% of American adults agreed that the United States should continue its military operations in Afghanistan, up from 25% who felt the same way in a 2012 poll.
Yet Ipsos polling conducted on Monday also showed that less than half of Americans liked the way Biden had pursued US military and diplomatic efforts in Afghanistan this year. They make their performance worse than the other three presidents currently presiding over the United States’ longest war, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Trump.
Biden’s overall approval fell to 46% of US adults in Reuters/Ipsos polling, the lowest recorded in weekly polls since taking office in January.
Republicans, including Trump, have begun to weaponize the withdrawal as an issue to undermine confidence in Biden as commander in chief.
An adviser who has worked on Democratic congressional campaigns said that most Democrats are likely to embrace public support of the withdrawal decision, and should address the issue before the November 2022 congressional elections.
She added, however: “The Biden administration has to defend every negative headline that has come out of Afghanistan during its tenure, so this is a real unknown.”

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