The Biden administration's poorly planned surrender in Afghanistan has been causing tragedy and disaster one after another, all while empowering the Taliban and the mullahs of Iran. The Iranian leaders have close ties to Taliban; both share a deep hatred towards the United States and Israel. Iran, as well as Pakistan, has also long provided shelter to Taliban leaders. Pictured: Iran's then Foreign Minister Javad Zarif (right) hosts Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (center-left) in Tehran, Iran on January 31, 2021. (Photo by Tasnim News/AFP via Getty Images)
The Biden administration's poorly planned surrender in Afghanistan has been causing tragedy and disaster one after another, all while empowering the Taliban and the mullahs of Iran.
The Iranian leaders have close ties to Taliban; both share a deep hatred towards the United States and Israel. Iran, as well as Pakistan, has also long provided shelter to Taliban leaders.
Iranian leaders have therefore applauded Biden administration's decision to withdraw US forces from Afghanistan. Former Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif characterized the US withdrawal as a positive action, while President Ebrahim Raisi described it as a defeat for Washington's Middle East policy that "must become an opportunity to restore security in Afghanistan." The Iranian regime had evidently been preparing for a Taliban takeover and meeting with Taliban leaders. In January 2021, a delegation from the Taliban had already been publicly consulting with senior Iranian officials, including then Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. According to him, both parties held productive talks, and discussed their ties and the future of Afghanistan.
The Iranian regime also sees the Taliban's takeover as an opportunity to shelter terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda who also hold a deep hatred towards the United States and Israel. While the Taliban was in power, the mullahs of Iran had close connections to Al Qaeda. A trove of 470,000 documents released by the CIA in late 2017 point to warm ties between the Iranian regime and Al-Qaeda. Its former leader, Osama bin Laden, advised his followers to respect the Iranian regime and wrote that Iran was the organization's "main artery for funds, personnel and communication."
Iran was implicated in the 9/11 terrorist attacks:
"In Havlish, et al. v. bin Laden, et al., Judge Daniels held that the Islamic Republic of Iran, its Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Hosseini Khamenei, former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, and Iran's agencies and instrumentalities, including, among others, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps ('IRGC'), the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security ('MOIS'), and Iran's terrorist proxy Hezbollah, all materially aided and supported al Qaeda before and after 9/11."
Iran had allowed Al-Qaeda operatives to travel throughout the country without visas or passports. Robust evidence, along with a US federal court ruling, suggests that "Iran furnished material and direct support for the 9/11 terrorists." Eight of the hijackers passed through Iran before coming to the US. Tehran provided funding, logistical support and ammunition to Al-Qaeda leaders, and sheltered several of them, in exchange for attacks on US interests.
Not only did the Biden administration – whose sole purpose in Afghanistan was to prevent another "9/11 attack" – hand the Taliban and the mullahs of Iran a major political and strategic victory, it also rewarded them with sophisticated, state-of-the-art US weapons worth $85 billion – courtesy of American taxpayers – which these terrorists will undoubtedly use to launch an even more deadly "9/11 attack" to kill American taxpayers.
"Planes, guns, night-vision goggles: The Taliban's new U.S.-made war chest", Reuters wrote. The Taliban is now armed with more than 2,000 armored vehicles, including Humvees, and up to 40 aircraft, possibly including UH-60 Black Hawks, scout attack helicopters, and ScanEagle military drones.
The US withdrawal to the Taliban was so poorly planned that the Biden administration actually delivered seven brand new helicopters to Afghanistan just a month before announcing that it would be withdrawing from the country. "They'll continue to see a steady drumbeat of that kind of support, going forward," U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said to reporters a few days later, after the delivery of the helicopters. A few weeks later, Taliban took control of the US military equipment.
It is mind-boggling that the Biden administration announced its withdrawal from Afghanistan without any plans either to secure billions of dollars of US military equipment, but made not the slightest effort to recover or destroy it.
This military equipment -- paid for with taxes that we pay and amounting to "85 per cent of all the military aid Washington has given Israel since 1948" -- has now fallen into the hands of Taliban, and at least some has been transported to Iran.
Kian Sharifi, a BBC journalist, posted in a tweet:
"An Iranian Telegram channel that covers military stories has released these 'exclusive' images that purportedly show humvees and other military vehicles spotted on the Semnan-Garmsar road in #Iran. What I am certain of is that those are humvees and that is an Iranian road".
As noted by GOP lawmakers in a letter spearheaded by Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.):
"It is unconscionable that high-tech military equipment paid for by U.S. taxpayers has fallen into the hands of the Taliban and their terrorist allies. Securing U.S. assets should have been among the top priorities for the U.S. Department of Defense prior to announcing the withdrawal from Afghanistan."
Former President Donald Trump accurately pointed out:
"Never in history has a withdrawal from war been handled so badly or incompetently as the Biden Administration's withdrawal from Afghanistan. In addition to the obvious, ALL EQUIPMENT should be demanded to be immediately returned to the United States, and that includes every penny of the $85 billion dollars in cost. If it is not handed back, we should either go in with unequivocal Military force and get it, or at least bomb the hell out of it. Nobody ever thought such stupidity, as this feeble-brained withdrawal, was possible!"
The Taliban and the Iranian regime now are not only able to unleash US-made weapons against the US and its allies, but Iran, Russia and China can also utilize this military equipment for research, reverse engineering, reproducing and selling it.
Representative Michael McCaul, the ranking Republican on the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, emailed Reuters, writing:
"We have already seen Taliban fighters armed with U.S.-made weapons they seized from the Afghan forces. This poses a significant threat to the United States and our allies."
Lawmakers and Americans need to pressure the Biden administration and demand that they recover or destroy as much of the abandoned equipment as soon as possible. Last week, James Comer (Ky.) and Rep. Glenn Grothman (Wis.) — both members of the House Oversight and Reform Committee — sent a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stating
"We are left wondering if the Biden Administration has a plan to prevent the Taliban from using our weapons against the U.S. or its allies, or selling them to foreign adversaries, like China, Russia, Iran, or North Korea."
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a business strategist and advisor, Harvard-educated scholar, political scientist, board member of Harvard International Review, and president of the International American Council on the Middle East. He has authored several books on Islam and US foreign policy. He can be reached at Dr.Rafizadeh@Post.Harvard.Edu