Thursday’s suicide bomb attacks in Kabul are leading “incompetent” President Joe Biden to a “political dead end” in which he sends troops back into Afghanistan, China’s state-run Global Times editorialized on Friday.
“Biden is unlikely to stop withdrawing. If he is dragged back to Afghanistan due to the latest terror attacks, he is making a political dead end for himself. Therefore, he has no option but to continue with his withdrawal plan. But the terror attacks by ISIS will only make the Biden administration’s withdrawal more miserable and infamous. The repeated incompetence of the Biden team is clear to all,” the Global Times said.
The Global Times anticipated Biden would order a symbolic bombing of suspected Islamic State targets “so as to comfort U.S. opinion,” but argued the U.S. military no longer has the intelligence assets needed to locate and strike ISIS targets in Afghanistan.
“The precision of the retaliation of the U.S. will be questioned. Its effect is expected to be much lower than previous strikes,” the editorial predicted.
The Chinese Communist newspaper made a point of distancing Beijing’s new business partners, the Taliban, from Thursday’s horrific attacks:
The Islamic State (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for the terror attacks. This was also confirmed by the US. The Taliban strongly condemned the ‘gruesome incident’ and said it ‘will take every step to bring the culprits to justice.’ This explicit statement has received a lot of attention.
The Global Times expressed sympathy for the Taliban and bemoaned the terrible mess Biden left it to clean up:
The bloody attacks at Kabul airport leave many uncertainties. Will the US army cooperate with the Taliban in regards to withdrawal and retaliation against ISIS? The Taliban has its own thoughts about how to stabilize the national situation and engage in reconstruction. They have called for domestic reconciliation and demanded intellectuals to stay in the country and participate in the reconstruction. But the fleeing-like withdrawal of the US and the West is destructive – they took no consideration of Afghanistan’s reconstruction at all.
Some Western countries advocated sanctioning the Taliban-led regime, which will open a new frontline with it outside the military sphere. Washington has no clue what path the region will take after its withdrawal. It seems unclear what it wants from an Afghanistan that has no presence of the US military. Apparently, Biden wants his face and fewer losses generated from the shameful withdrawal from Afghanistan in next year’s mid-term election. Nothing else so far. The Taliban may let him go, but not ISIS.
Another Global Times article on Friday urged the Taliban to get busy cracking down on terrorism – especially the terrorists China is worried about, the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), the threat Beijing uses to justify its genocidal oppression of the Uyghur Muslims – and advised the new Afghan regime not to count on any help from the “irresponsible” United States. The U.S. removed ETIM from its list of designated foreign terrorist organizations last year, citing the fact that no evidence suggests it exists.
“The bomb attacks outside Kabul airport, which have killed 13 US service members and at least 100 Afghans, are the disastrous result of the U.S.’ hasty, disorganized and irresponsible withdrawal from Afghanistan, and they are a slap in the face of the U.S. which just noted it was another ‘mission accomplished’ in Afghanistan,” the Global Times sneered.
The Chinese newspaper fretted Thursday’s bombings “forced the Afghan Taliban into an embarrassing situation” because it called the Taliban’s promises to keep terrorists out of Afghanistan into question.
“The incident may also affect Afghanis’ confidence in the Taliban’s capability of management and control of domestic situation, and deepen distrust of the international community on whether the Taliban will be capable of fulfilling its previous promise against terrorism,” Lanzhou University director of Afghanistan studies Zhu Yongbiao told the Global Times.
The article went to great lengths distinguishing the Taliban from ISIS-K, the Islamic State group that took responsibility for the bombings, and described ISIS-K’s quest to “build a global caliphate by jihad” as far more dangerous than whatever the Taliban has in mind for Afghanistan.
The Global Times also took pains to distinguish the Afghan Taliban from the Pakistani Taliban and al-Qaeda, groups it imagined the Afghan Taliban fighting to keep Afghanistan stable.
“Terror attacks may decrease after the Afghan Taliban finishes building the government, since previous terrorist organizations used the banner of fighting against heretics and foreign troops, and their targets will decrease after the exit of the US and its allies. The Afghan Taliban will take stronger control than the former government and it may conduct attacks targeting IS and other organizations,” the Global Times predicted, quoting another Chinese academic.