It is an ‘unfathomable tragedy’ that the local people who worked alongside US and NATO officials throughout the war in Afghanistan are being left to their fate.
Crowds of desperate people rushed to the airport in Kabul yesterday as people looked to flee the country in the face of the Taliban advance.
The Taliban has claimed that its fighters are under strict orders not to harm anyone and to protect the “life, property and honour” of the people.
It has insisted that it has changed since it last controlled the country 20 years ago and is encouraging women to join its new Government.
However, the UN has warned of "chilling" reports of curbs on human rights and violations against women and girls.
The Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney has labelled the decision to withdraw NATO troops 20 years after the US invasion of the country the “most significant foreign policy catastrophe” the world has seen for decades.
On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, Irish-American commentator and Law Lecturer at NUI Galway, Larry Donnelly said the withdrawal has the support of 70% of the American people.
“If I am to fault something that [US President Joe] Biden and the Americans have done it seems to me the one thing they absolutely should have done was ensure, through covert operations or otherwise, that the people who were so good to them - the Afghani’s who helped the US; who did so much to help rebuild and reshape their country - that those people were taken care of,” he said.
“I know all life is sacred but in particular those people, it breaks my heart to see that some of them are going to be left behind.
“Indeed, if you hear what Afghani war veterans are saying, that is their number one objective. These people did so much and the fact they are being left behind or some of them are being left behind is an unfathomable tragedy.”
In a speech last night, President Biden insisted that the US mission in Afghanistan was never about nation-building and noted that the war was originally launched to tackle the perceived threat of Al Qaeda.
Mr Donnelly said there are “a lot of contradictions” at the heart of the president’s claims.
“I think the contradictions boil down to the fact that this was a big mistake from the get go,” he said.
“I am afraid, as I keep saying, Afghanistan is the uncrackable nut. The Soviets were there for years and things disintegrated; they left because they couldn’t get a handle on it. The US has been there for 20 years and things have descended into chaos again.
“It gives me no pleasure to say it but the whole thing was a colossal failure in terms of the human toll, the financial toll – every which way you look at it American intervention in Afghanistan has been a bigtime failure and whichever president left was going to wind up with egg on his or her face.
“Right now, Joe Biden has a lot of that egg on his face and as you say, the most tragic thing here was the loss of so many Afghani lives and the loss of American lives and so many of those young, mainly poor, men and women who are walking around with emotional and physical wounds that will never heal.”
He said American foreign policy and interventionism over recent decades has been an “abject failure.”
“Objectively speaking it has largely been indefensible, it has largely failed and that is what has led to isolationism being the dominant and ascendent school of thinking among the American people who do not want their soldiers or their people to go abroad unless America’s narrowly-defined national interests are in play,” he said.
“That is why, despite the horrendous scenes yesterday and in recent days in Afghanistan, I doubt very much if the appetite for intervention in Afghanistan or anywhere else is going to be provoked by what they have seen no matter how horrific.”
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