TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE — Is President Joe Biden killing a million children in Afghanistan?
No, certainly not directly.
But he and varied other officials set the stage in the overly quick, careless, incompetent U.S. withdrawal that put the Taliban in charge of the place.
The Taliban’s political leaders and terrorist troops then put poverty in charge of the people while also scrapping public services, according to Antonio Guterres, secretary general of the United Nations.
The consequences? There is precious little food, terrible malnutrition and the possible starvation deaths of millions, including those million children. A drought in farm country played a role in this development, as did the previous corrupt government, we are told.
But the Taliban is the key player that shows disregard for humanity every direction it looks, as in beating up people in Kabul for not wearing Taliban-approved clothing.
They flogged a woman in the street for talking to a man.
Women were becoming free at last under the previous regime but will now be denied any education or possibly even health care and be confined to their homes.
Protesters of such tyranny have confronted gunfire as a counter-argument, and people are terribly scared, as was dramatically demonstrated by those lethally clinging to the outside of airplanes to escape. It’s dangerous out there, few have cash and businesses are closing. The biggest job is finding one.
Prices are unpayable, homelessness is rampant, cross-border trade has gone poof and farms are dust we learn in a New York Times story on the situation.
One means of assisting the Afghan people would be to expel the Taliban, which is not going to happen, obviously, although the U.S. did keep these dogmatists from running things for 20 years while avoiding more 9/11-style attacks.
There were definitely dividends in the long war that was producing fewer and fewer American deaths.
But look at it altogether and the deaths come to 2,500 U.S. servicemen, 3,846 U.S. contractors, 66,000 Afghan troops and cops, and 47,245 civilians. The war cost us about $300 million a day.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R.-Fla., recently said in a session of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations what so many others have been saying, that the United States still did everything wrong in the withdrawal, as in getting troops and airpower out of the Taliban’s way before would-be evacuees had a chance to evacuate.
Everything got out of control and the administration has tried to look good by saying it was Trump administration plans that caused the abrupt takeover.
That is false although a Trump team agreement with the Taliban did eventuate in Afghans releasing 5,000 Taliban prisoners.
What’s most frightening and important now is the possible starvation of those million children and millions more adults and finding a way to prevent the worst without abetting evil.
The United Nations is trying to collect billions for humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.
The U.S. ambassador to the U.N. has promised $64 million.
Rubio has said Taliban leaders in the past stole aid meant for charitable uses and he did not want to hand them money for foul deeds while having less for our own people in need.
The Times reported on donors being wary of “brutality” and “human rights abuses.”
The aim, however, is for the United Nations to be handling the humanitarian assistance, not the Taliban.
There are other aid issues, as in giving the Taliban help if it releases American hostages, something known as ransom, but there are ways both can happen without it being ransom.
Shouldn’t we demand to get weapons back we essentially allowed the Taliban to take?
They were pretty much made harmless, a military spokesman has said.
Partly because the United States shares responsibility for the starvation crisis, but also because we should be a humane, caring nation that reaches beyond itself in this world, we should continue to work to save these lives, millions of lives, as a meaningful national goal.
Jay Ambrose is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service. Readers may send emails to email@example.com. © 2021 Tribune Content Agency.