The outspoken editor of a Chinese state media tabloid mocked the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan on Sunday, comparing the government’s foreign policy blunder to the presidential transition from former President Donald Trump to President Joe Biden.
The U.S. evacuated embassy personnel in Kabul by helicopter on Sunday as Taliban fighters advanced on Afghanistan’s capital. Just four days ago, U.S. defence officials had estimated that it would take Taliban insurgents 30 days to isolate Kabul and possibly under 90 days to take it over.
“Chinese netizens joked that the power transition in Afghanistan is even more smooth than presidential transition in the US,” tweeted Hu Xijin, who heads the Chinese Communist Party’s Global Times.
Hu’s remarks came after the Taliban ordered their militants to enter the city late Sunday following their earlier assurance that they would not take the capitol by force.
“Now there are reports that districts in Kabul have been evacuated, police have left their job of providing security, ministries have been evacuated, and security personnel from the Kabul administration have fled,” a Taliban spokesperson said in a statement.
The Taliban issued an assurance to residents of Kabul that militants would not invade homes or attack people, including foreign nationals. But shortly after, the U.S. Embassy warned Americans to shelter in place and steer clear of the airport, which was reportedly under fire.
Amid the rapid Taliban advance, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Sunday that American diplomats in Kabul were being transported to the airport “to ensure they can operate safely and securely,” leaving only a core team.
Blinken defended the administration’s decision to withdraw U.S. military presence from the country in a series of cable news interviews, disputing comparisons to the fall of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War in 1975.
“We went to Afghanistan 20 years ago with one mission, and that mission was to deal with the folks who attacked us on 9/11—and we have succeeded in that mission,” he told CNN.
Biden, who’s at Camp David this weekend, on Saturday increased the number of U.S. troops being sent to Afghanistan to assist with an “orderly and safe drawdown” to 5,000. The president and members of Congress have reportedly been receiving briefings from Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
The Taliban has captured at least 26 of Afghanistan’s 34 provincial capitals in recent weeks in a swift advance that has apparently stunned Biden’s top advisers. The group entered the Afghan presidential palace in the evening, where its leaders issued statements to the media.
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