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Israeli Experts Say US Pullout from Afghanistan Sending Wrong Message to Middle East and Beyond

08-13-2021
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US troops pulling out of Afghanistan. Photo: AP File May 2, 2021
US troops pulling out of Afghanistan. Photo: AP File May 2, 2021

JERUSALEM, Israel - After nearly 20 years, the US is pulling its troops out of Afghanistan, leaving a power vacuum that is quickly filling up with the radical Taliban group. 

And some Israeli experts are concerned that the US pullout is sending the wrong message to the Middle East and others like China, Russia, Iran and Turkey.

“The fact that the United States is leaving will empower groups like the Taliban and other extremists,” said Seth Frantzman, author of ‘Drone Wars: Pioneers, Killing Machines, Artificial Intelligence, and the Battle for the Future’.

“It will also empower a lot of America’s, let’s say, adversaries or enemies or countries that want to take advantage of the decline of America in the region. So that would probably mean is what we’ll see is an empowerment for groups like Iran or extremists that feel they can target Israel,” Frantzman told CBN News.

Michael Oren, former Israeli ambassador to the US as well as former Knesset member and Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s office, said the message its sending is alarming.

“The message being that America is withdrawing, that America is abandoning its allies, that America is leaving hundreds of thousands of civilians, particularly women civilians in Afghanistan to their fate at the hands of the Taliban,” Oren told CBN News. 

“If any American thinks that you can do that without serious geo-political and strategic ramifications around the world, they’re kidding themselves,” Oren said. 

Earlier this year, President Biden announced that the US would withdraw its troops from Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks on the US.

Since then, the Taliban has taken over a dozen regional capitals and assassinated a number of Afghani government officials.

An added element, according to Frantzman, is how the Taliban was welcomed in other countries long before the pullout.

“The Taliban is ostensibly a terror army and yet the Taliban was being hosted by China, Russia, Qatar, Turkey, I mean all these different places were kind of open to talking to them and I think what happens when the international community let’s say gives a red carpet or whitewashes these types of groups,” Frantzman said. 

“I think that’s concerning to Israel because does it mean that Hamas and Hezbollah will get more red carpets now internationally and that would be very, very bad for Israel,” he added. 

Oren said it will embolden others outside the region, too.

“I think that China will make conclusions about its position in the South China Sea, vis-a-vis, Taiwan; the Russians about their position in the Middle East and Eastern Europe and Ukraine,” Oren said. 

“It is human nature when people see a formerly very strong person withdrawing, they see a vacuum and vacuums are abhorred by nature, but also, by international relations. And they will fill up these vacuums,” he said.

Meanwhile, as the Taliban gobbles up ground, many are asking what happened to the Western military mission and billions spent training and beefing up Afghan security forces. 

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