Putin could have been emboldened in Ukraine because of Biden’s ‘failure’ in Afghanistan: ‘The Atlantic’ writer

George Packer, a staff writer at “The Atlantic,” blasted President Biden’s handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal and said on CNN Monday that the “failures” cast a shadow on the United States.

Packer addressed a scathing article he wrote in “The Atlantic” which said that the White House refused solid public and private advice until it was too late and accused the administration of peddling a “false” “talking point” on SIV applicants

“There were many things the U.S. could have done and was urged to do – again and again – publicly and privately by advocates for Afghans … [Then] there was a mad scramble … but by then Kabul was on verge of falling and all the time had been lost,” Packer said on “The Lead with Jake Tapper.”

UN: MORE THAN 100 FORMER AFGHAN TROOPS, OFFICIALS KILLED SINCE TALIBAN TAKEOVER

Taliban soldiers stand guard in Panjshir province northeastern of Afghanistan, Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021. 

Taliban soldiers stand guard in Panjshir province northeastern of Afghanistan, Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021. 
(AP Photo/Mohammad Asif Khan)

“There was no need for children to be trampled to death outside the gates of the airport. There was no need for U.S. Marines to be blown up by suicide bombers as they tried to pull people out of sewage canals. All of that was the result of a failure to plan and to carry out evacuations when there was time,” he continued.

According to Packer, instead of prioritizing the evacuations earlier when the administration was pressed to do so, “it studied the problem in endless meetings.”

The CNN host then asked Packer whether the U.S. image on the world stage was permanently damaged. 

“I think it’s hurt badly. Some experts on Russia and Ukraine have said that part of Putin’s decision to begin massing forces on the Ukraine border came after he saw the American debacle at the end of the Afghan war and decided we had been weakened on the world stage and this was [their] moment to try [their] hand in Eastern Europe,” he said. 

“What it does is it makes us look unreliable and incompetent, bad partners, friends that can’t be counted on, a great power that can’t do the basic thing of bringing out its own allies and friends who risk their lives on behalf of a project that we brought to their country when they were at great risk of being killed.”

IN AFGHANISTAN, AID WORKERS RUSH TO SAVE MILLIONS IN FREEZING TEMPERATURES 

Internally displaced Afghans from northern provinces, who fled their home due to fighting between the Taliban and Afghan security personnel, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 13, 2021. 

Internally displaced Afghans from northern provinces, who fled their home due to fighting between the Taliban and Afghan security personnel, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 13, 2021. 
(AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

Packer elaborated further on the part in his piece accusing the Biden administration of repeating a “false” talking point to the American public on SIV applicants and concluded it was as if the White House “blam[ed] Afghans for their own entrapment.”

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“President Biden said … more than once, and his aides began to repeat it, that more than half of the SIV [applicants] chose not to leave when they could have. When in fact, what the experts, the lawyers, the advocates … told me was ‘no they couldn’t leave’ … In other words, it was bureaucratic obstacles,” he said. 

President Biden answers questions from the media as he speaks about the evacuation of SIV applicants, among others, in the White House, Aug. 20, 2021, in Washington. 

President Biden answers questions from the media as he speaks about the evacuation of SIV applicants, among others, in the White House, Aug. 20, 2021, in Washington. 
(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

“These people were desperate to get out … These are people who we owed the highest debt to and whom we failed, and the failure goes up to the highest level because I think there simply wasn’t enough concern that this could go all badly very quickly and we need to take action sooner than later,” he told Tapper.

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