AS THE Americans abandoned their positions in Afghanistan, they left all their kit lying around. The result is that the Taliban are now armed with 350,000 assault rifles, 22,000 Humvees and 33 Blackhawk helicopters.
It was an unbelievable error by the American government. Though with a senile president, it is hardly a surprising one. One can only speculate what the reaction would have been if such a colossal eff-up had happened under Trump. (Calling all Biden sycophants in the ‘conservative’ media: do you miss him yet?)
The Americans are not the only ones picking what and what not to take out of Afghanistan. Each nation has been deciding, given limited time and resources, on its priorities.
The British have airlifted a few mangy mutts from Kabul’s kennels. The Krauts, despite losing their martial reputation in recent decades, remain fiercely proud of their Bier. Rather than let the Taliban get hold of their stash of booze (they’re bad enough sober, after all), the Germans moved quickly to move 25,000 litres of alcohol out of Afghanistan, including 65,000 cans of lager. Amid the yapping pets and Lederhosen-clad Bavarians shovelling beer on to transporter planes, it can be easy to forget that people are also being evacuated. But who, exactly?
According to German authorities, of the roughly 4,000 Afghans taken back to the Bundesrepublik, only 9 per cent were those who previously worked for German operations. Of the rest, 370 were family members and the remainder were, well, who knows?
With another 10,000 Afghans who worked for the German government still there, the number of accompanying family members could grow to 370,000-or-so. Add a whole wedge of ‘unknowns’ and the number will inflate drastically once again.
This is only those brought back by the Germans. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, more are now making their way to Europe. As ever, most of them are fighting-age men who have left the women and children to fend for themselves.
As history has shown, among the many millions lies the immediate threat of terrorists who will kill innocents on our streets. Those who don’t will add to the growing pressure on infrastructure after years of unsustainable migration. Longer term, such waves of people will only add to the instability of a Europe in the midst of a demographic shift never seen outside wholesale war.
These will not be the first Afghans making their way to Europe. Already some 80,000 live in the United Kingdom. The government plans to take 20,000 Afghans, but given that any figure calculated by the government regarding immigration is out by many multiples, that is certainly a substantial underestimate.
Having settled in the UK, Afghans already living here would presumably have claimed asylum due to the threat to their safety they faced back in Afghanistan. However, news reports seem to suggest that many have happily travelled back to Afghanistan since then. It leads to the question: who exactly are the thousands of ‘Britons’ who find themselves stuck after spending their summer holidays in Kabul? How many are previous asylum seekers? If they were willingly travelling to-and-from the country they had fled, what can we surmise about the legitimacy of their asylum claims? Were any remitting British taxpayer money back to Afghanistan to support relatives there?
Those Afghans who helped us in our disastrous efforts in their country should be assisted. Not only on humanitarian grounds, but reputational too: nobody would ever assist us again if we just cut and run.
However, this doesn’t mean we should not be asking difficult questions about the competence and effectiveness of our asylum and immigration systems. Given successive governments’ utter unwillingness to deal with the issue substantively, the British public are right to have the utmost scepticism.